- Frosty Drew Observatory
- Fri, May 14, 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 forecasts are calling for clear to partly cloudy sky conditions, depending on forecasting source. Though variable, the overall forecast looks to be on the clearer side. Considering that the Moon is only 10% waxing crescent, and will be visible over the western sky for our entire astro geek out, tonight has the makings of an awesome night. The best phases for naked eye viewing of the Moon are the super thin crescent phases because Earthshine is strikingly visible. Earthshine is when sunlight reflecting off of Earth illuminates the nighttime side of the Moon, making for a ghostly glow alongside the crescent. We also have a stunning view of Mercury in the twilight sky, sitting about 15° below the crescent Moon. Add in a pass of Tianhe-1 (China’s new space station), and two fabulous passes of the International Space Station, all alongside super dark sky conditions, and tonight looks to be the night!
We will open the Observatory and Science Center from 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm. In the Observatory’s primary telescope we will start out with views of Mercury, followed by views of the crescent Moon. As twilight wanes, we will showcase star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae including The Ghost of Jupiter (white dwarf formation), The Corvus Star Gate, Messier 5 Globular Cluster, and more. In the Observatory Courtyard, telescopes will be set up on the Moon and dozens of celestial sights. As the night progresses, our astronomers will point out passes of the space stations and show off constellations along the beautiful starscape.
Overall, tonight has the makings of a perfect night! A stunning thin crescent Moon in twilight, sporting fabulous Earthshine, two ISS passes, a pass of the Chinese Space Station, and super dark sky conditions. The only downside is the possibility for partly cloudy conditions, but that is the less likely outcome at this time. If making the long drive tonight, keep in mind that possibility. Additionally, we have been easing some of our restrictions regarding the pandemic, now that the vaccine is widely available. This will allow us to significantly reduce wait times for telescope observation. So put the cosmos on your list of Friday night celebrations and kick off a beautiful springtime weekend with your inner geek.
Take a moment to catch up on all the awesome things happening in space this week in: A Celebration of Space - May 14, 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 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!