Summer Stargazing Nights

Summer Stargazing Nights

Frosty Drew Observatory
Friday August 25, 2017 at 6:00 p.m
$1 Suggested Donation per Person

Tonight is Stargazing Night at Frosty Drew Observatory and the weather looks potentially fabulous! We can likely expect mostly clear to clear skies all night long, though the forecast has been degrading as the day continues. This may finally be our break from the terrible weather on Friday nights for 2017. Additionally, the beautiful 18% waxing crescent Moon will be with us at sunset and set at 9:47 p.m. offering up fabulous views of the super thin crescent and super dark skies once it sets. As an added bonus, the crescent Moon will also be in conjunction with Jupiter over the Eastern sky after sunset. Sky watchers will see Jupiter about 4° to the bottom right of the Moon.

We will open the Observatory and Sky Theatre at 6:00 p.m. In the Observatory our hydrogen alpha telescope will be setup offering fabulous views of the solar chromosphere, showcasing prominence and sunspot groups AR2671 and AR2672, which were both visible during Monday’s solar eclipse. Once the Sun sets, we will switch our telescopes over to the night sky. The crescent Moon will be up first, followed by Saturn. Once twilight wanes, we will direct our telescopes toward dozens of fabulous nebulae, star clusters, and possibly the Andromeda Galaxy later in the night. In the Sky Theatre and early in the Observatory we will feature a showcase of photos of Monday’s solar eclipse that we captured at Frosty Drew Observatory. We will stay open until 11:30 p.m., possibly much later. Follow us on Twitter (@FrostyDrewOBSY) or Facebook for updates from the Observatory including a closing up message when we decide to close.

Overall, tonight has the line up to be a fantastic night under the stars. The super thin crescent Moon in conjunction with Jupiter, followed by super dark skies will make for many stunning views. The Milky Way, though no longer in a prime viewing spot for us at Frosty Drew, will be visible overhead once twilight wanes. If clear, it will certainly be a fantastic follow up to the amazing Great American Solar Eclipse event this past Monday. So grab on to the tails of your fabulous Monday geek out for a night loaded with astronomy awesomeness at Frosty Drew Observatory tonight.

Weekly Happenings
Scott MacNeill

This past Monday, August 21, 2017 a fabulous total solar eclipse happened over much of the United States. Though not visible as a total eclipse nationwide, the entire country experienced some form of a partial eclipse. At Frosty Drew Observatory we opened at 10:00 a.m. to celebrate a day under the Sun. The eclipse began at 1:27 p.m. over the Observatory and continued until 4:01 p.m. Thousands of visitors descended to the Frosty Drew campus to celebrate the event with us, and we had a fantastic day with everybody!

We set out on Monday morning to experience the fabulous eclipse, which we certainly did. Though what we didn’t expect to see that day was the staggering display of kindness and the elated demeanor of all who visited. So many people freely shared their viewing devices with others they did not know so all could experience the beautiful eclipse. It was a day of new friendships, camaraderie, and good will towards each other. During a time of great division in our country, it was inspiring to see so many people come together for a common purpose and bond with the idea of sharing that moment, even with a stranger. The eclipse was beautiful, though to me, the kindness was the most beautiful display of the day.

As we approach the end of the summer break and back to school is on everybody’s mind, the Harvest Moon starts coming up frequently in conversation. Largely the misconception of many, the Harvest Moon is not the September Full Moon, or the October Full Moon. Both of those Full Moon’s are called the Full Corn Moon and the Full Hunters Moon, respectively. The Harvest Moon is actually the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. The Equinox will happen on September 22nd at 4:02 p.m. EDT, and occurs when the Earth is neither tilted towards nor away from the Sun. On the Equinox we have equal lengths of daytime and nighttime. This year the September Full Moon (Full Corn Moon) will occur on September 6th at 3:03 a.m. EDT. The October Full Moon (Full Hunters Moon) will occur on October 5th at 2:40 p.m. EDT. This places the October Full Moon closer to the Equinox by about two days, causing the 2017 Harvest Moon to fall on Thursday, October 5th. So mark your calendar and step out to view the Harvest Moon. Additionally, the Sidewalk Astronomers of Pawtuxet Village will setup their telescopes on the Pawtuxet Village bridge that night to celebrate the Full Moon. Stop in for a view at the Harvest Moon in a telescope and catch up on your geek.