HARTFORD — The night sky will come alive during the Confluence Tower’s May Stargazing program from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 22.
Amateur astronomer Steve Sands will showcase the sky’s wonders over the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Participants will learn about stars, planets, and constellations. The sun sets at 8:13 p.m. so guests should arrive in time to view the sun setting over the river waters from the top level of the tower, 150 feet above the ground. With the moon at a slight crescent, Friday night will offer the best opportunity to catch a glimpse of Saturn, which will be low in the southeastern sky just after twilight. This is the best opportunity in more than a decade to view the planet’s ring system. Also visible will be Jupiter, called the King of Planets, which will appear high in the southwest sky. Telescopes will be available to help with viewing. Admission is $5 per person and includes unlimited trips up the tower. Cameras are welcome.
Sands, a member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society, will help visitors identify activity in the night sky and answer questions throughout the event.
“The view from the tower’s top level is just phenomenal,” Village of Hartford Project Manager Deanna Barnes said. “With the lack of city lights hindering our view, we are extremely thankful for this opportunity. Steve is full of so much valuable knowledge and does a wonderful job of explaining the mysteries of the cosmos.”
The tower is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Guided tours are available throughout the day. Admission is $4 for adults; $3 for adults older than 62, active military and veterans; $2 for children age 12 and younger; and children 2 and younger are free. Group rates are available for 12 or more people and reservations can be made by calling the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau at (618) 465-6676.
For information, call (618) 251-9101 or visit the events page at www.confluencetower.com.