Stargazing Nights

Stargazing Nights

Frosty Drew Observatory
Friday February 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m - 9:00 p.m.
$1 Suggested Donation per Person

Tonight is Stargazing Night at Frosty Drew Observatory and forecasts are calling for rain. Sadly, this will keep the Observatory telescopes closed tonight. The 57% waxing gibbous Moon would have offered up excellent views of the cratered lunar surface, but bright moonlight would have obscured dark skies. Though rain will slam our telescope geekout, we will still have previous captured views of many celestial objects we observe in winter on the Sky Theatre screen.

The Sky Theatre will open from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. tonight. On screen we will feature images previously captured at Frosty Drew Observatory of celestial objects that would have been visible tonight, with a commentary and open discussion on general astronomy.

Overall, tonight’s forecast for rain is quite solid and any chance of opening our telescopes to the cosmos will be non-existent. The Sky Theatre will have some fabulous views of the objects we observe this time of year and will give you a chance to catch up on some of the amazing things happening in the cosmos. We will return to our regular Stargazing Nights schedule on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Weekly Happenings
Scott MacNeill

This past Sunday night brought Southern New England a fabulous night of clear skies with practically no Moon for the entire night. These are the nights to die for at Frosty Drew Observatory. I took this opportunity to setup outside the Observatory and capture a stunning image of Messier 64 – The Black Eye galaxy. Found in the constellation Coma Berenices, M64 resides at around 24 million light years distant. The galaxy gets its name from an extensive dust lane that partially obscures the galactic nucleus from our view point. This peculiar dust lane sits above the galactic plane and may be the remnant of a satellite galaxy merger that has not yet settled into the main galactic disk. Check out the image of The Black Eye galaxy.

Starting this morning, the International Space Station (ISS) began making daily appearances in the early morning sky before sunrise. If you’re up early in the morning, take a moment to step outside and welcome your day with the ISS passing over. Good passes this week include:

Sunday, Feb 25th at 5:51 a.m. in the SSW, rising to 28° heading towards the ENE.
Tuesday, Feb 27th at 5:42 a.m. in the SW, rising nearly overhead heading towards the ENE.
Wednesday, Feb 28th at 4:51 a.m. catch the ISS experience orbital sunrise 21° up towards the S, heading towards the ENE.
Thursday, Mar 1st at 5:34 a.m. in the WSW, rising to 50° heading towards the NE
Friday, Mar 2nd at 4:45 a.m. catch the ISS experiencing orbital sunrise 68° up towards the SW, then passing directly overhead, heading towards the NE. This is certainly the best pass of the week.

These times are applicable to Southern New England, and largely the Northeast. For times over your location check out NASAs Spot the Station. What better way to start your day than with humanity’s only continuously inhabited space based residence.