Summer Stargazing Nights
- Frosty Drew Observatory
- Friday July 5, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- $5 Suggested Donation per person 5 years and older
Tonight is Stargazing Night at Frosty Drew Observatory, and after a nice bout of fabulous dark sky viewing at the observatory, inclement weather has returned. We can expect clouds to quickly ramp up this afternoon, with full cloud cover happening shortly after sunset. Additionally, dew points are rather high, which will bring in substantial fog, patchy at first, though probably persistent once the ground cools off. This is rather unfortunate considering we have a super thin 14% waxing crescent Moon sitting softly in the southeast sky until it sets at 10:50 pm, which would have brought out the Milky Way among super dark skies. Sadly, the relative certainty in the forecast will keep our telescopes closed tonight. Regardless, this past week has been awesome.
The Observatory and Sky Theatre will open from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm tonight with our cloudy night schedule. In the Observatory, tours of our telescopes and observatory operations will be available. These are the nights where we keep our lights on, allowing for techies and gear-heads a chance to geek out. In the Sky Theatre we will show our feature of celestial objects photographed at Frosty Drew Observatory with a commentary and open discussion on general astronomy.
Overall, tonight is the night to skip. Cloudy skies and patchy dense fog will make it largely impossible to view the cosmos. If you’re in the local area and have a free night, stop in, chat with our astronomers, and catch up on your geek. Though if contemplating the long drive, you will want to put it off until another night. So enjoy the holiday weekend, and if you happen to have clearer skies, take a moment to look up.
Have a fabulous Independence Day (weekend) from all the astro-geeks at Frosty Drew Observatory.
On Tuesday, July 9, 2019 Earth will reach the point in our orbit when we arrive in between the Sun and Saturn. This is called the “Opposition of Saturn” and places Saturn on the opposite side of Earth than the Sun. Consequently, this is our closest point to Saturn for our year, at 839,700,000 miles distant. On this night, Saturn will rise with the setting Sun, and set with the rising Sun. After which, Saturn will be above the horizon at sunset, rising higher with each passing night. The month surrounding opposition are the best time to catch a view of Saturn, so make a note to get out and see how amazing Saturn looks in a telescope.
This coming week, celebrations abound for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, with the anniversary date happening on Saturday, July 20th. Launching from the Kennedy Space Center in FL on July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission was the fifth crew-supported mission of the Apollo program. Piloted by astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 mission was the first time humans set foot on the Moon. Aldrin and Armstrong piloted the lunar module (Eagle) to the Moon’s surface on July 20, 1969, landing in Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility), where they named the landing site Tranquility Base. After spending 21.5 hours on the lunar surface, Aldrin and Armstrong departed the Moon and rejoined with the Columbia command module, where Collins remained as the pilot. The crew successfully returned to Earth on July 24, 1969.
Celebrations of the historic Apollo 11 landing will be happening all over Rhode Island, and we aren’t listing them all here. Some of the notable events we will be involved with include:
July 9 – July 28: WaterFire Arts Center in Providence will host “Museum of the Moon”. This exhibit will feature a 23’ diameter replica of the Moon. The exhibit is free to attend and will kick off with a reception on July 8th from 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm (which you need to RSVP to attend).
Tuesday, July 9th: Brown University’s Ladd Observatory will be hosting it’s regular public stargazing night from 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm, offering up views of the Moon in their historic 1891 12” refractor, alongside views of Jupiter and Saturn.
Wednesday, July 10th: Frosty Drew Observatory will host our Wednesday Summer Stargazing Nights event offering views of the 64% waxing gibbous Moon in the big telescope, alongside Jupiter and Saturn.
Wednesday, July 10th: Brown University’s Ladd Observatory will host a special event to the public, themed on the Apollo 11 lunar landing. From 8:30 pm – 11:00 pm, numerous telescopes will be setup on the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn; alongside displays of the Moon and Apollo mission landing sites.
Friday, July 12th: Frosty Drew Observatory will host our Stargazing Nights event, offering live views of the 83% waxing gibbous Moon, alongside views of Jupiter and Saturn. We will present a gallery of the Apollo 11 mission images, which will be on display in the Science Center.
Tuesday, July 16th: Brown University’s LLadd Observatory will be hosting it’s regular public stargazing night from 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm, offering up views of the Full Moon in their historic 1891 12” refractor, alongside views of Jupiter and Saturn. . https://brown.edu/ladd
Wednesday, July 17th: Frosty Drew Observatory will host our Wednesday Summer Stargazing Nights event offering views of the near Full Moon in the big telescope. We will present a gallery of the Apollo 11 mission images, which will be on display in the Science Center.
Friday, July 19th: Frosty Drew Observatory will host our Apollo 11 50th Anniversary event with galleries, presentations, and talks about the Apollo 11 mission, alongside views of Jupiter and Saturn in our telescopes.
Saturday, July 20th: Providence Waterfire will host a full Waterfire lighting celebrating the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary. Telescopes will be setup along river walk alongside numerous presentations, speakers, and displays about the landing. All silhouetted by the surreal environment of braziers burning on the Providence river, fire dancers, and haunting music.
There is no excuses with so many events happening. So get out for a little Apollo 11 celebratory geek, and start getting excited for the next mission to the Moon.
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.