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See the moon through telescopes free at Bellis Fair Mall

Karl Thompson, a longtime member of the Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers, is shown at a “sidewalk science” event for the transit of Mercury at the Bellingham Public Library.
Karl Thompson, a longtime member of the Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers, is shown at a “sidewalk science” event for the transit of Mercury at the Bellingham Public Library. rmittenbdorf@bhamherald.com

A local astronomy club is offering another of its free sidewalk science programs as part of a worldwide event this week to promote understanding of the Earth’s moon.

Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers will be at the main entrance to Bellis Fair mall, 1 Bellis Fair Parkway, from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, which is International Observe the Moon Night. They will be on the sidewalk near the entrance at the food court, said WACO member Richard Just.

WACO members will bring different kinds of telescopes with various lenses to show the difference between reflector and refractor models and how the moon appears in detail with high magnification.

The club offers free sky-viewing opportunities in summer at Boulevard Park and Artist Point, as well as events during celestial phenomena such as eclipses. As with all WACO events, it is canceled in the event of cloudy skies.

Moonrise on this national night out for science is 2:21 p.m., with the moon in first quarter and 49 percent illuminated, according to timeanddate.com. Sunset is at 6:33 p.m.

Formed in the 1980s, WACO offers regular public outreach programs for casual sky observers.

International Observe the Moon Night is sponsored by NASA and the Lunar and Planetary Institute to illustrate the moon’s connection to planetary science and exploration. For information, go online to whatcomastronomy.org, lpi.usra.edu, and nasa.gov.

Information about moonrise and sunset on Oct. 8 was corrected Oct. 3, 2016.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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