Summer Stargazing Nights

Summer Stargazing Nights

Frosty Drew Observatory
Fri, Aug 20, 2021 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
$5 Suggested Donation per person 5 years and older

Welcome to the Frosty Drew Observatory Summer 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 highly variable at this time. Unfortunately, what appears to be constant are expectations of some level of clouds coupled with fog. The most reliable forecasting sources that we use are calling for fog as the primary issue instead of clouds. Depending on timings of fog inundation we could get away with a hazed out view of Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and the 96% waxing gibbous Moon. On the flip side, fog is an issue at our location, and variability in fog forecasts do not favor us. It’s risky, but we will give it a shot.

Since this afternoon’s cloud cover will be quite significant, we will not host our solar viewing program this afternoon, and instead open the Observatory, Science Center, Sky Theatre, and Observatory Courtyard from 8:00 – 10:30 pm. In the Observatory and Courtyard telescopes, we will attempt a view of Saturn’s rings, Jupiter and its four Galilean Moons, Venus, and the bright gibbous Moon. Heavy haze and light fog will actually improve our view of Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. This happens because those planets are very bright, which overpowers our view. The dimming from haze and fog makes it easier to see details in the atmospheres of the planets. In the Science Center we will have exhibits on display as well as the works of our astronomy team shown on gallery. In the Sky Theatre we will project a showcase of images captured by our astronomy team. We may close up earlier if the weather is just bombing us out, but we will stay open until 9:00 pm in any case.

Overall, tonight is not the night to make the long drive. On site conditions will be hot and sticky, and the sky will likely be obscured by a mix of clouds and fog. There is a small chance that we can spot the brighter planets with our telescopes, if fog is not too heavy. If the sky ends up too clouded out to observe we will offer tours of the Observatory with the lights on, and will offer a commentary in the Sky Theatre while showing the presentation. If you’re in the local area and are feeling risky, then stop in and hope with the best.

Take a moment to catch up on some celestial happenings this week in: A Celebration of Space - August 20, 2021

Be sure to subscribe to the (Frosty Drew Observatory mailing list, follow us on Twitter (@FrostyDrewOBSY) or on Facebook to receive status updates about our Summer Stargazing Nights program and more.

With the dynamic and rapidly changing pandemic landscape, site visit requirements will be changing very quickly. At this time, tickets are not required to attend this event, but visitors will have to register their name and phone number upon arrival. Note that we will NOT send anything to your phone number. This is used exclusively for contact tracing matters. We are limiting a maximum of 250 visitors concurrently at our event. If this limit is reached, you will have to either wait in your car or take a night stroll around Ninigret Park until availability opens up. Reading our SARS-CoV-2 Public Statement will get you the most recent information about this matter.

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

To allow for visitors to freely explore all of the amazing experiences at Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center without having to wait in long lines, we have integrated a pass-based group access process that applies to only the large telescope inside the observatory dome. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with this process as part of your planning steps.

Please note that due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the detail of this event may change. Please check in regularly, both here and on our SARS-CoV-2 page, to stay up to date.