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To experience astronomy in person, check our event page to see when our next stargazing event is.

We have the most dynamic astronomy programs in Tucson for people of all ages. The images below showcase our monthly stargazing, solar viewing and youth camp events! Be sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our awesome events! RFTS is proud to bring advanced equipment to the public, no strings attached. Immerse yourself in the cosmos through our programs and you will experience awe like you never have before!


Currently, NASA is working hard to get back to the Moon. This is known as the Artemis Program. The previous program that got us to the moon on July 20th, 1969 was called Apollo.  Artemis was Apollo's twin sister (in greek mythological stories), also known as the Goddess of the Moon. Nasa chose this because its obviously the perfect nod towards the legendary Apollo program. 


Going back to the Moon will be no easy task. We aren't using those computers that are the size of a bedroom anymore. Technology has changed and its not as simple as using our more advanced computers with the same data. Luckily, NASA is allowing private companies to help build different components, spacecraft and computer systems to speed up the process, as the order from the president was to get the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. This will be extremely difficult to achieve, but with teamwork, anything is possible. 

The moon's gravity pulls at the Earth, causing predictable rises and falls in sea levels known as tides. 

Sometimes when we ask people what their favorite planet is, they say Earth. This is always amazing to talk about because Earth is the ONLY planet that we know of in the entire visible universe that supports life. Here are some other fun facts about Earth:

  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun.

  • The Earth formed around 4.5 billion years ago.

  • It is one of four rocky planets on the inside of the Solar System.

  • Earth isn't flat, but it's not perfectly round either. Its bloated in the center.

  • If you could separate the Earth out into piles of material, you’d get 32.1% iron, 30.1% oxygen, 15.1% silicon, and 13.9% magnesium.

  • 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water.

  • Earth’s atmosphere is thickest within the first 50 km from the surface or so, but it actually reaches out to about 10,000 km into space.

  • A year on Earth isn't 365 days exactly. It’s actually 365.2564 days. It’s this extra .2564 days that creates the need for a Leap Year once every four years. That’s why we tack on an extra day in February every four years.

  • Earth rotates at approximately 1,000 mph heading east (at the equator - the speed is 850 mph in Tucson). Without gravity, we would simply rise off the surface, never to return.

  • Because the Earth rotates east, the stars seem to move west across the sky. Many believe the stars are what's moving, but actually it's the Earth. 

With a simple telescope, every object in the sky moves across the eyepiece, causing you to constantly adjust the mount to chase it. Fortunately, Starizona (the astronomy and nature company in Tucson) graciously donated a computerized telescope to our nonprofit. This kind of telescope aligns to the stars via its internal computer and servo drive system to move very slowly, keeping the object in the eyepiece. This also opens up the fantastic world of astrophotography! These are the kinds of telescopes that we use at our events to maximize the possibility of inspiration. If you have any questions, please message us! 

SpaceX became the first privately owned company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station with their Falcon 9 Rocket and Crew Dragon Spacecraft in May 2020. 

This was a historic day. It was the first time in almost 50 years that American astronauts launched on an American rocket from American soil.

meteor crater arizona

Arizona Meteor Crater Impact Site

Meteor Facts:
  • The Earth’s atmosphere experiences millions of meteors every day.

  • The fastest meteoroids travel through the solar system at a speed of around 42 kilometres per second (26 miles per second).

  • Around 500 meteorites reach the Earth’s surface every year, but of those, only about five ever make it to scientists for study.

Meteor crater



Fact #1

This giant ball of gas spins fast, creating non-stop lightning storms 1000x more powerful than Earth's lightning bolts and 1,100 mph winds. Violent, yet beautiful, with the largest ring in the solar system. 


Fact #2

Saturn has 9 major rings.

They are made up of billions of pieces of ice, from house-size boulders to minute crystals.


Fact #3

Saturn is the second-largest planet in our solar system. About 764 Earths could fit inside Saturn

The Sun

Our Very Own Star


  • The Sun is 4.5 billion years old, about halfway through its life.

  • The Sun is a Yellow Dwarf, a relatively small star in the universe.

  • The Sun accounts for 99.86% of the mass in the solar system.

  • Over one million Earths could fit inside the Sun.

  • One day the Sun will consume the Earth.

  • The energy created by the Sun's core is nuclear fusion.

  • The Sun is almost a perfect sphere.

  • The Sun is traveling at 220 km per second.

We love our star, even though it can be unforgiving and we're not supposed to look at it with the naked eye... Luckily, there are ways to view it safely!

Once a month, our team sets up special equipment at the Vail Coffee Stop vendor fair. This includes solar glasses, a solar telescope, a hydrogen Alpha filter assembly, and energy rejection (inferred blocking) filters. In different configurations, we are able to safely show everyone our stunning star in White Light (for sun spots), Hydrogen Alpha light (for surface detail, filament and prominences), and orange light through solar film. We can also show these views live on the a monitor!

Here are some sample images of what you're able to see:

Sun image
Sun image
Sun image
Comet NEOWISE 2020
Photo by Alistair Symon
Photo by Alistair Symon
Photo by Alistair Symon
Photo by Alistair Symon

We serve to educate and inspire our youth with every program.

Have a question about space? Telescopes? Our programs? Click the globe below!

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