Summer Stargazing Nights

Summer Stargazing Nights

Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center
Fri, Jun 2, 2023 6:30 pm - 11:00 pm
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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.

Unfortunately, the beautiful sky we have had for the past week will start clouding out this afternoon. We can expect passing thunderstorms after 2:00 pm, with rain setting in overnight. There may be several viewing opportunities during breaks in the clouds, especially with the 97% waxing gibbous Moon, and Venus in the sky, but the dome will stay closed if thunder can be heard. Eventually, the sky will cloud out, but we will give it a go, and hope for the best.

Tonight we will open around 6:30 p.m. with solar observing. Have you ever seen a sunspot or a solar prominence? How about the Sun’s turbulent chromosphere? Well this is your chance to catch an unforgettable view of our nearest star.

Once the Sun sets, views of the beautiful night sky over Ninigret Park will rock your night. Hang out with our astronomers and telescopes as we showcase the Rings of Saturn, the cratered lunar surface, the Galilean Moons of Jupiter, the polar ice caps of Mars, the phases of Venus, massive stars, speckled star clusters, vast nebulae, distant galaxies, and the best views of the Milky Way in Rhode Island. We stay open until 11:00 pm, sometimes later depending on the night and sky conditions.

Our schedule of activities for this 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
Lunar Lounge
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.

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.

Get Tickets for This Event

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 space-based happenings in:
A Celebration of Space - June 2, 2023

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

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.