Stargazing Nights - CLOSED
- Frosty Drew Observatory
- Fri, Jan 29, 2021 - CLOSED
- $5 Suggested Donation per person 5 years and older
Welcome to the Frosty Drew Observatory Stargazing Nights! Every Friday night (weather permitting) we open our Observatory, Science Center, Sky Theatre, and telescopes to the sky and offer free stargazing and astronomy to anybody interested in observing with us.
Tonight's forecasts are calling for mostly clear skies with moderate winds and bitterly cold temperatures. The Full Wolf Moon occurred yesterday afternoon, January 28, 2021 at 2:19 pm EST, which will place the lunar phase at 99% waning gibbous tonight. At that phase, the Moon will outshine pretty much everything in the sky aside from the brightest stars and Mars. Winds tonight will sit at a blustery 19mph with gusts reaching into the 33mph range. All of this equates to a rather hardened night, to say the least, with wind chills sitting below zero for the entire night. Due to local pandemic related restrictions, we cannot offer visitors an indoor refuge from the cold, which creates a potentially dangerous situation! Frostbite will occur within minutes tonight for anybody who is not properly dressed, and hypothermia will set in quickly.
With all this on the table, we still considered opening to celebrate a clear(er) Friday night. We usually don’t close due to cold or wind, as long as gusts remain below 40 mph. Though restrictions on how many people we can have in the dome, as well as the inability to allow visitors an indoor escape from the cold, will put our visitors at too high a risk for frostbite and hypothermia. Additionally, with the Moon being so bright, it would have largely been the only object we could observe tonight. Sadly, we will keep the Observatory closed tonight. We will attempt another opening on Friday, February 5, 2021.
Now that Frosty Drew Observatory has entered its off / down season we are scaling back our operations for a few months. We will still open every Friday night, weather permitting, to host our Stargazing Nights event. Though we will not have as many telescopes or astronomers available. The big change of late is the removal of our ticket requirement, which could come back at any time we feel it is necessary. What this means is that visitors can freely visit Frosty Drew Observatory on Friday nights. What it DOESN’T mean is that everything is back to normal. We will be counting the number of visitors that enter our Courtyard and will only allow up to a specific number depending on how visitors are conducting themselves. Additionally, dome access will be a mix of self governed and astronomer managed. The same restrictions will be in place as have been for the past month and we will have signage as well as team members to help direct flow dynamics. It is very cold in the winter at Frosty Drew and due to this new model, you will be outside in the wind for extended periods of time. Inadequate preparation for your visit is NOT our fault! Our down season usually lasts until May. This is yet another trial and error process that we will adapt to and learn from. We thank you for your patience during these times.
If you are looking for that awesome astronomy thing to do or just want a night out to experience the cosmos under the darkest skies in Rhode Island, then this is your chance.
Check out our page on Visiting Frosty Drew Observatory to learn more about what to expect at the Observatory and better help you prepare for your visit.
Please note that we do not allow any white lights on our campus from dusk - dawn. This is to ensure an equally awesome view of the night sky for all and to allow for the use of light sensitive astronomical equipment. Learn more about why we have this requirement in The Red Light District
It is cold at Frosty Drew Observatory during the winter. Visitors will be completely exposed to the harsh winter environment while standing on frozen ground. Dressing properly is REQUIRED to attend! Lean how the Frosty Drew Astronomers dress for working overnight on the Frosty Drew campus during the winter. Read it! Follow it!
We will update this event listing on the day of the event. The update will describe our plans for the night and what to expect regarding weather and astronomical sights.