- Frosty Drew Observatory
- Friday March 15, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
- Free! Donations Appreciated.
As usual, we can't be very certain how good the sky conditions will be tonight, but, if there are fairly good conditions early in the evening, we will be trying to observe Comet PanSTARRS, the first naked-eye comet in quite awhile. However, before we do, because of the time change due to Daylight Saving Time, we will be showing the award-winning The City Dark at 6:00 P.M. This program, an introduction to the concept of light trespass and its resultant problems, is a great way to learn what over lighting can do to the environment, and to people. There is no charge to see this, as it was a gift from the Charlestown planning committee; then, after The City Dark, the skies should be dark enough for us to attempt to locate the comet.
Thanks to all who came to the URI Planetarium showing of Cosmic Colors. The next show, on April 13th at 6:00 P.M., will be IBEX, the space craft attempting to map the end of our solar system. Please plan to come; admission is only $5.00, to benefit the Frosty Drew and URI Planetarium funds.
Remember: the comet in our skies right now, PanSTARRS, might not be very easy to spot, but please try to locate it, as we have another one coming later in the year. It doesn't happen very often that any comet, never mind two, become naked eye in the course of a year. Please enjoy our solar system guest, as we never know when another will be as easy to spot as these two this year.
Frosty Drew is privileged to be located at the darkest site in Rhode Island. Please help us to keep our skies as dark as possible.
Tonight's weather forecast is quite variable calling for anything from partly cloudy skies to rain. As usual we will be on site monitoring the skies for acceptable stargazing conditions. We will open the Sky Theatre at 6:00 with a showing the The City Dark, a documentary on the rising problems from significant increases in light pollution. At 7:30 we will attempt to open the Observatory telescopes if the skies permit. Be sure to check our website or Twitter for status updates before setting out.
This coming Wednesday, March 20 at 7:02 a.m. the Vernal Equinox will take place signaling the start of Spring. On the vernal equinox Earth will be in a position relative to the sun where the center of the sun will be on the same plane as Earth's equator. Additionally, the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox is when Easter will take place. This places Easter on March 31st this year as the full moon will occur on Wednesday March 27, one week after the vernal equinox. Welcome Spring!
Comet PanSTARRS had made its grand appearance over Rhode Island this past Wednesday. Though visible for close to a week now in the northern hemisphere, clouds and unfavorable weather have thwarted our attempts at a sighting. Overnight Wednesday into Thursday many fantastic photographs showcasing the comet from different spots in Rhode Island appeared online. Visit the our Facebook page to see some of these photographs. Be sure to attempt a viewing for yourself every night about 15-30 minutes after sunset to the west. Here is a sky chart displaying the comets location at dusk during the best viewing period. Happy comet hunting!