Stargazing Nights

Stargazing Nights

Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center
Fri, Feb 16, 2024 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
$5 Suggested Donation Per Person

Welcome to the Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center's 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 increasing clouds with overcast conditions setting in before 10:00 pm. The first quarter Moon will be with us until the early morning hours, setting at 1:50 am. Even with thinner cloud cover the Moon and Jupiter will be visible. It may be a bit windy tonight as well as cold, which could restrict us to the side of the sky without the Moon and Jupiter, but we’ll take the night as it goes.

The Observatory, Science Center, and Sky Theatre will open at 7:00 pm tonight. In the Observatory we will start off our night with views of Jupiter and the first quarter Moon. During the first quarter principle lunar phase there are a few notable features that become visible on the Moon, including the lunar X and lunar V. These features may be visible tonight, and if so, we will point them out to observers in the big telescope. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and the four Galilean Moons will be well positioned for a view earlier in our session. This could work out really well with the incoming clouds. Depending on how clear the sky is at any given time, we could view the Orion Nebula, Rigel, Hubble’s Variable Nebula, and more. We will also try for a couple of carbon stars, which could be visible with thin cloud cover as well. In the Sky Theatre we will show our regular feature of celestial objects photographed at Frosty Drew Observatory. We’ll close up at 10:00 pm.

Overall, tonight is probably not the night to attempt the long drive. Clouds will overtake our night, and we reasonably expect to be clouded out by 9:00 pm. It will also be quite cold on site tonight, with temps sitting in the mid-upper 20’s. Depending on how windy it is, it could feel so much colder. Dressing for extreme winter conditions is a must tonight as the Observatory building is not heated and must be the same temperature as the outside air. The Sky Theatre and Science Center are climate controlled and will offer a respite from the cold if needed. Let’s hope clouds cut us a break tonight.

If you are looking for that awesome astronomy thing to do or just want a night out to experience the cosmos under the darkest sky in Rhode Island, then this is your chance.

Take a quick moment to catch up on some astro-happenings this week in:
A Celebration of Space - February 16, 2024

Be sure to subscribe to the Frost Drew Observatory mailing list and follow us on Instagram to receive status updates about our 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 Dress for Winter Conditions: The Frosty Drew Observatory is not climate controlled, and the temperature inside the dome need to match the outside air temperature for a stable telescopic view. Frosty Drew Astronomy Team members dress in layers during the winter and for a very good reason. You should consider doing the same. Please read Dressing for All-Night Winter Stargazing to familiarize yourself with adequate dressing measures.

Please note that we do not allow any white lights on our campus or in Ninigret Park from dusk - dawn, with the exception of low beam headlights while in motion. 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.