Summer Stargazing Nights
- Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center
- Fri, May 26, 2023 6:30 pm - 11:00 pm
- Get Tickets for This Event
Welcome to the Frosty Drew Summer Stargazing Nights! Every Friday night (weather permitting) we open our Observatory, Science Center Sky Theatre, and telescopes to the skies and offer free stargazing and astronomy to anybody interested in observing with us.
Tonight's forecasts are calling for mostly clear sky conditions with moderate temperatures. We also have seen the intense wildfire smoke of the last two weeks clear out. The 43% waxing crescent Moon will be present for our entire session, which will certainly brighten up the sky a bit, but not enough to completely outshine all deep sky objects. There is a bit of variability in the forecast, which could bring some passing clouds to our solar observing session, though variability usually favors us at Frosty Drew.
We will open the Observatory, Observatory Courtyard, Science Center, and Sky Theatre this afternoon at 6:30 pm and we will stay open until 11:00 pm. The Science Center will host exhibits, including the Project Comet Chaser rocket – which has been to space, a 12 foot wide panoramic of the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon, Frosty Drew Project Messier, and more. Our schedule of activities for tonight’s event are as follows:
6:30 pm – sunset:
Solar Observation and Venus Spotting
The Observatory Courtyard will offer views of the solar photosphere, and solar chromosphere of the Sun, using safe solar telescopes. We will also have a telescope set up showing daytime views of Venus. During this time, the Observatory building will be open for tours.
Sky Theatre Feature: Celestial Images
Sky Theatre will be showing a slideshow of celestial objects photographed at Frosty Drew Observatory.
8:00 pm – 8:20 pm:
Story Time Under the Willow
Frosty Drew Astronomy Team member, Jessica, will host a kid friendly story about the sky. The reading will happen under the large willow tree on our campus that borders the shore of Little Nini Pond.
8:00 – 8:30 pm:
Sky Theatre Feature: The Sun
On the hour, starting at 8:00 pm, the Sky Theatre will show a feature about the Sun. This 30 minute video is a collaboration between NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory and Frosty Drew.
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm:
Venus Observation in the Big Telescope
The large 24 inch observatory telescope will showcase Venus, which is one week away from its Third Quarter phase. In the telescope, observers will easily see Venus’ waning gibbous phase.
8:30 pm – 9:00 pm:
Sky Theatre Feature: Project Messier
Project Messier is a Sky Theatre video presentation that will run every half past, starting at 8:30 pm. The feature will show high resolution images of objects in the Messier Catalog of deep sky objects, with a narration. The images were captured by the Frosty Drew Astronomy Imaging Team at Frosty Drew Observatory in an effort to re-image the entire Messier Catalog.
8:30 pm – 11:00 pm
The Lunar Lounge brings a live projection of the Moon to the exterior NW wall of the Sky Theatre. The projection comes from a telescope fitted with a camera. Kick back on our NW lawn and enjoy a huge, live view of the Moon.
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Venus and the Moon will be our first targets until other stars become visible. As the night progresses, Courtyard telescopes will show binary stars, star clusters, and more. The large 24 inch observatory telescope will showcase the Messier 5 globular star cluster, the Hercules Cluster, binary star – Xi Bootes, a carbon star or two, and any other objects we can track down.
Overall, tonight looks like a fabulous night to be out. If making the long drive, tonight will be a night to do it, as the weather looks spectacular, and the wildfire smoke of late has cleared. The Moon will be a bit bright, but also in a good phase for observing. So join us tonight for our first Summer Stargazing Nights event of 2023, and celebrate a sky full of stars this Memorial Day weekend.
Tickets are required for visitors to attend this event. Tickets are free, though a suggested donation of $5 per person, either online or at the event, is very appreciated.
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.
Take a moment to catch up on some celestial happenings and events in this week's:
A Celebration of Space
Preparing for Your Visit:
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.
How to Prepare for Springtime Conditions: The Frosty Drew Observatory is located inside Ninigret Park and borders the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. Insects and arachnids are a concern when visiting the Frosty Drew campus. We have observed mosquitoes, green head flies, deer flies, ticks, biting ants, and more. Please read the Mosquitoes and Insects section on our Visiting the Observatory page to familiarize yourself with adequate preparation measures.
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.