Stargazing Nights

Stargazing Nights

Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center
Fri, Apr 12, 2024 8:00 pm - 10:30 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 the rain to move out later this afternoon, with mostly clear sky conditions setting in. We do have a threat of intense wind gusts sticking around into our event, which may keep the dome orientated to only one side of the sky. The 29% waxing crescent Moon will be with us until after midnight, and will offer stunning views of the thin crescent and Earthshine, which is when the night side of the Moon is dimly visible from sunlight reflecting off of Earth. The only issue we see with tonight, aside from the wind – which is manageable, is how wet the campus and buildings may be. This could prevent us from opening the dome roof. Regardless, we will make a best effort attempt at opening.

We will open the Observatory, Science Center, and Sky Theatre at 8:00 pm. In the Observatory we will direct the large 24 inch telescope towards the crescent Moon, Orion Nebula, Messier 46 open star cluster, binary star Algieba, the Messier 3 globular star cluster, and perhaps a few carbon stars. In the Sky Theatre we will show our regular feature of celestial objects photographed at Frosty Drew Observatory. Depending on wind and campus conditions, we may have a telescope set up in the Observatory Courtyard. We will close up at 10:30 pm.

Overall, tonight looks like a good night to be out as far as the sky goes. We can expect mostly clear conditions and we do not think clouds will be a problem. As for the wind, we are expecting the high wind gusts of the day to move out this evening, but that may not fully happen until after we close up. Additionally, the saturated campus as well as wet dome roof and tracks can pose a hazard to our equipment, as well as make for difficult navigation. If conditions are too wet, this could certainly affect our night. We will not know how this will play out until we are on site and the rain has stopped. If you’re making the long drive, it is risky, but if conditions are not too wet and windy, it will be a good night.

Tickets are not required to attend 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 sky in Rhode Island, then this is your chance.

Take a moment to catch up on astronomy, including a recap of the total solar eclipse in:
A Celebration of Space - April 12, 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.