- Frosty Drew Observatory
- Fri, May 21, 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 is not looking too great. We can expect increasing clouds during our event, with overcast conditions and fog eventually setting in. There is a bit of variability on timings of the cloud attack, with some reliable sources placing us under clearer conditions for most of our event. Alternatively, other reliable sources are calling for an early cloud ramp up, before our event starts. So it’s a tricky night. We do have a rather bright 72% waxing gibbous Moon out for our entire session, which will allow for a view through thinner cloud cover and could bail us out if clouds are not too heavy. We’ll take the night as it goes and hope for the best.
The Observatory and Observatory Courtyard will open at 8:30 pm tonight. In the Observatory we will either show high powered views of the Lunar surface in the big telescope, or we will host tours of the Observatory if it’s too cloudy. The best times to observe the Moon are during the early and mid waxing gibbous phases, which places notable craters in the vicinity of the Lunar Terminator (the line that separates the day and night regions of the Moon). On tonight’s list is the Copernicus Crater, Tycho Crater, Archimedes Crater, Plato Crater, Eratosthenes Crater, Sinus Iridum, the Montes Apennines, the Montes Alpes, and the Montes Caucasus. So much to see! Courtyard telescopes will showcase the Moon with wide field views, binary stars and anything else that makes an appearance. We will close up at 10:30 pm.
Overall, tonight’s prospects are looking rather grim. It is less likely that the sky will work out to our favor, but there is a chance. If making the long drive, we recommend sitting this one out. But if you’re in the local area and want to take a risk, then stop in. The Moon is in a great phase for observation and it will be visible even with thin cloud cover. So take a chance and stop in for a night of astro geekery at Frosty Drew tonight.
Catch up on some of the amazing things happening in space this week in: A Celebration of Space - May 21, 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!