Read Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center's Update on SARS-CoV-2 / Coronavirus Disease 2019 and our Reopening Plan. Updated: June 16, 2021
Public Observation Night

Public Observation Night

Frosty Drew Observatory
Friday June 8, 2012 at 8:45 p.m.
Free! Donations Appreciated.
Sky conditions don't really look like the best for tonight, but, if there is relatively good clearing, Mars and Saturn are great objects for the 16-inch telescope. Also, there's a lot of satellite activity this evening: The International Space Station will appear out of the southwest about 9:01, reach two-thirds above the southeast horizon, finally leaving the sky at 9:07 in the east-northeast. It will be at one of its brightest passes, unmistakable as it moves across our sky. Then, a not-so-bright pass will begin low in the west-northwest at 10:38, then move about a quarter of the way above the north-northwest, finally disappearing low in the northeast five minutes later.

The Tiangong station will also give us several minutes to observe it, as it appears 10 degrees above the west at 10:17, eventually leaving us about halfway above the southwestern horizon.

Plus, there are two Iridium flares scheduled for tonight, the first, Satellite #83, high above the east-northeast at 9:24, then #82 will flare about 20 degrees above the northeast at 10:58.

The University of Rhode Island will present what is thought to be the best planetarium show ever made, Dawn of the Space Age, a look into the history of space from Sputnik to beyond next Friday, at 7:00 P.M. on the URI campus. The program is only $5.00, to benefit both Frosty Drew and the URI Planetarium funds. For more information, or for directions, please call Francine at 527-5558.

Now that the transit of Venus has left us for another century, and the clouds blocked much of it here in New England, we do have another planetary experience coming up in early August - the landing of Curiosity, the largest craft ever to set down on another planet, onto our other neighbor, Mars. Please stay tuned for information as this day nears.

Also, we are coming on to the Charlestown Town Council's vote on the town's lighting ordinance next week. There's still time to send a note to your councilor asking for this important way to keep Charlestown the beautiful rural town it is. As Ninigret Park was chosen to place Frosty Drew Observatory there because of its great skies, we are all hoping that, by passing this ordinance, that we may continue to serve the public with its quality educational programming.

-Francine Jackson


Tonight's forecast is calling for partly/mostly cloudy skies with a chance of t-storms. We will evaluate the skies onsite at 8:00 - 8:30 p.m. and post updates to our website and twitter (@FrostyDrewOBSY). Tonight's 78% waning gibbous Moon will rise at 11:42 p.m. a little over an hour after astronomical twilight ends. With the Summer Solstice just around the corner (Jun 20, 7:08 p.m.) the sky stays relatively bright till near 10:30 p.m.

The Transit of Venus took place on June 5th (this past Tuesday). Those who came out to Frosty Drew for the transit were met with relentless cloud cover. About 10 people stuck it out till sunset at which point the Sun emerged for 5 minutes before setting below the western tree tops. This gave us a breath taking 5 minute view of the last transit of Venus in our lifetime. Visit for our record of the event, some pictures and videos.

Tonight will not be an enthusiast night. If you are driving a long distance, tonight is a pass.

-Scott MacNeill