Tucson is Arizona's second largest city and the home of the University of Arizona. Every year, Tucson hosts its Gem & Mineral Show that brings visitors and merchants from all over the world to witness the natural resource of the city. The best cup of coffee and the best soda in town are available at local restaurants and as long as you can put up with strange clientele and a funky, smoke-filled atmosphere, you're in for a treat. Stop at Oasis for an amazing fruity shaved ice treat on the way back, and watch cruisers take over 12th Avenue on a hot summer night from their outdoor patio. Visitors on less stringent budgets should be sure not to miss Café Poca Cosa, claimed by many natives to be the best restaurant in town. For souvenirs, head over to Picante on Broadway and Country Club. If you are looking for something to do, you must head down to the 4th Avenue and browse through the stores abound – you're sure to see something odd, even if it's only a troupe of hippies. For the adventurous kind, the Sabino Canyon, the spectacular desert canyon, cut into the south side of the Santa Catalina Mountains is the perfect place to trek. You can also head to Saguaro National Park, the densest forest of the iconic cactus of the American West, or the Tohono Chul Park, where extensive botanical exhibits explaining the native plants, and a wonderful plant-sale area are available for visitors.
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5 Upcoming Astronomical Events
Here is a list of five upcoming astronomical events that hopefully, we will all live to see. Some are coming very soon in months, and others will not happen for many, many years, but they are all worth anticipating.
1. Venus Transit
The first event and an incredibly rare astronomical phenomenon is something that can only be witnessed once or twice in a lifetime, if you are lucky to be born at the right time. The transit of Venus in front of the Sun will be visible on June 5-6 of this year.
2. 2015 – A Busy Year
The year 2015 is going to be an exciting year for astronomy buffs. The year kicks off with a total solar eclipse, which will take place on March 20, 2015. This eclipse will be seen in the centre of the North Atlantic Ocean, and move past Greenland before ending in northern Siberia. The best place to view the eclipse will be in the Norwegian Sea, east of Iceland, north of England, and west of Norway. Then on September 13, a partial solar eclipse will be visible in parts of Africa, Madagascar, and Antarctica. September 28 sends us our second total lunar eclipse of the year, which will be visible in most of North and South America, Africa, Europe and west Asia.
3. Mercury Transit
Not nearly as rare as Venus transits of the Sun are Mercury transits. The Mercury transits are more frequent as Mercury is closer to the Sun and orbits the Sun more rapidly. Like the Venus transit, from Earth, the viewer will see a small black dot (Mercury) pass from more or less right to left in front of the face of the Sun. Mercury transits will occur within a few days either side of May 8 and November 10. The next transit is in 2016. The full transit will be visible in western parts of Europe and Africa and eastern parts of North and South America.
4. James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the planned replacement for the highly successful and still operating Hubble Space telescope. The telescope is named after James Webb, the second NASA administrator and leading force in the Apollo space program. It will have the capability of taking visual images and infrared images. The JWST will continue the work of Hubble in looking for and viewing the most distant objects in the universe; objects too distant to be seen by Earth-based telescopes. Someday, hopefully soon, the JWST will be in space and taking even better and more amazing pictures of deep space than even the Hubble space telescope was able to achieve.
5. Betelgeuse Super Nova
Betelgeuse is a well-known star to even casual viewers of the night sky because of its size, colour, and placement. Betelgeuse is the eighth brightest star in the night sky and is easy to locate as it is the second brightest star in the constellation of Orion. It is about 640 light years away from our Sun. Astronomers believe Betelgeuse is a young star but because it is so massive, it is heading for extinction. It is expected to go super nova (explode, increasing its brightness to typically a billion times that of the sun) in less than one million years. Therefore, at its current distance from Earth, the Betelgeuse super nova explosion would be the brightest ever recorded in Earth's history. As viewed from Earth, the Betelgeuse super nova would be brighter than the moon and would easily be visible in the daytime sky for several months.