SPRING 2016 Astronomy Observing Sessions
Check back often to see changes in scheduling due to weather or other reasons.
Also see us at:
The George Mason University Observatory at the Fairfax Campus building
Research Hall formerly known as Research I (see campus map
officially opened 24 January 2007.
No one is allowed on the roof without
authority of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
There will be a number of informal night sky observing sessions
scheduled this semester.
Attendance at these sessions is open to all
students, faculty, staff and the interested public. The primary telescope used in the observatory atop the pier is the new 0.8m (~32") Ritchey-Chretien telescope. There is a 12 inch
Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope used on the patio that
provides good views of
the sky as well.
We still possess the 6" refractor originally built by GMU students in 1975 (it is on display in the glass alcove).
Please note that the observing session will be canceled
if the sky is more than half overcast one hour before the session is
scheduled to begin, or if it is too windy (>30mph) to open the observatory dome. If in doubt,
check weather forecast here or
here, and check the Clear Sky Chart for the area and check back on this webpage before scheduled observing sessions.
The location of the observing sessions is the observatory at Research Hall.
Access to the observatory is limited. Guests will be met in Research Hall lobby by the main elevators. If you are late, you can stay by the elvators and someone will meet you, after you call the observatory at 703-993-9558 and have been acknowledged by observatory personnel.
The observing sessions
will begin near the times indicated below
and will last approximately 1.5 hours weather permitting.
NOTE: The observatory deck has very rough flooring. Guests are advised to WEAR ONLY CLOSED TOED SHOES. NO SANDALS or other open toed shoes.
The sessions are currently scheduled for specific MONDAY EVENINGS.
learn more about the observatory visit the observatory website.
Observing Session Schedule - SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE:
Remember: Check here about 1 hour before coming to Research Hall in the event of clouds/rain/other reasons for cancellation.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no more scheduled observing sessions until
the FALL semester begins.
- Monday 25 January 2016: CANCELED due to BLIZZARD2016 -- GMU CLOSED
- Monday 1 February 2016:Talk by Dr. Paul Cooper (GMU) titled
"Habitability: Chemical Requirements for Life in the Universe" started at 5PM ~20 in attendance.
There was NO observing
due to weather conditions.
- Monday 8 February 2016: Today's observing session CANCELLED due to forecast of rain changing to snow; talk by Dr. Pesnell is postponed until next week 15 February 2016.
- Monday 15 February 2016: Talk CANCELED by Dean Pesnell (NASA GSFC) titled:
"The Sun: Astronomy for People Who Sleep" -- GMU CLOSED!
- Monday 22 February 2016: Talk/observing session CANCELED this date due to weather forecast.
- Monday 29 February 2016: Talk by Dr. Prabal Saxena (NASA GSFC) titled "The Early Moon as an Exoplanet" starts at 5:30PM regardless of weather; followed by observing
session beginning at 6PM weather permitting.
- Monday 14 March 2016: Talk and observing session CANCELED for this evening due to overcast skies, with rain forecast this evening.
- Monday 21 March 2016: Talk by Dr. Bethany Kung (George
Washington University) starts at 7PM followed by observing
session beginning at 7:30PM weather permitting.
- Monday 28 March 2016: About 65 guests enjoyed talk by Dr. Michael Garcia of NASA titled "How Hubble is Getting Us to Mars" at 7PM followed by no observing
n due to high winds. Guests were escorted to observatory to see telescope.
- Monday 11 April 2016: Talk by Dr. Anna Quider titled "The Dirt on Cosmic Dust" is POSTPONED until next week due to forecast of overcast skies this evening.
Monday 18 April 2016:
Talk by Dr. Anna Quider titled "The Dirt on Cosmic Dust" starts at 7:30PM followed by observing session beginning at 8:00PM
- Monday 25 April 2016: Talk by Dr. Michael Summers titled "New Horizons Mission to Pluto and Charon" started at 7:30PM followed by observing
session which started at ~8:12PM. About 125 people in attendance including boy scouts and cub scouts. Observing focused on Jupiter and its moons.
ENJOY the SUMMER BREAK from classes
PLEASE NOTE: If these dates are not convenient, or if you live in Maryland, or if you'd just like more observing opportunities, you may want to consider visiting the University of Maryland College Park Observatory. The director of the observatory is Elizabeth Warner, and she runs many great programs at the UMCP observatory.
Please attend for your own enjoyment! All are invited, so bring a friend.
Dr. Harold Geller
College of Science
School of Physics, Astronomy and Computational Science
George Mason University
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22030