- Frosty Drew Observatory
- Fri, Apr 30, 2021 8:30 pm - 10:30 pm
- $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 forecast, which have been quite erratic, is currently looking questionably acceptable. We can expect mostly clear to clear sky conditions during our event, though wind will be quite intense, with gusts expected in the 40 mph range, with the potential for gusts into the 50 mph range. Wind at that rate is well over the tolerance of our dome and primary telescope. Considering that the 73% waning gibbous Moon does not rise until 1:21 am tomorrow morning, super dark sky conditions will rock tonight. Since the prospect of a clear dark sky is too good to pass up, we will attempt an opening of the Observatory Courtyard and Courtyard telescopes, while keeping the primary observatory telescope closed tonight.
The Observatory Courtyard will open from 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm. Courtyard telescopes will showcase galaxies, binary stars, nebulae, and star clusters. The Observatory dome may be open for tours, but the dome roof and primary telescope will remain closed. It will be windy, which will make it feel very cold and raw outside tonight. Be sure to dress for winter conditions with a good parka to break the wind. A hat and wind-breaking jacket will make a huge difference for visitors that will be exposed to the elements tonight.
Overall, it is a questionable night. At this time it appears that we will have clear and dark sky conditions, which is perfect for our location. But wind WILL be a problem and telescopic views will suffer due to that wind. If you’re okay with the wind and are looking to catch a view of thousands of stars overhead, then tonight is your night! But high magnification views of celestial objects will not be feasible, though we will have telescopes set up with lower magnification. Also note that we are currently limiting visitor numbers in the Courtyard to 60-90 visitors depending on stations that are available, with any visitors over that number having to wait for admittance. Last week we had to turn several visitors away, even with us staying open until midnight. Please understand and be prepared for this possibility. It will be a windy, but beautiful night out under the stars.
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 and early spring. 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 between Noon and 3:00 pm. The update will describe our plans for the night and what to expect regarding weather and astronomical sights.