SPRING 2014 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 27 January 2014: CANCELLED due to forecast of clouds, winds, and freezing cold temperatures.
- Monday 3 February 2014: CANCELLED due to weather. very sorry, speaker will speak later in semester.
- Monday 10 February 2014: About 65 guests heard a talk by Dr. Jessica Rosenberg about colliding galaxies. This was followed by an observing session, which was limited to observing Jupiter and the Moon because of pesky clouds.
- Monday 24 February 2014: Talk by Darryl Wilson about observing Jupiter. Observing took place with about 30 guests in attendance.
- Monday 10 March 2014: Talk by Darryl Wilson about observing the Moon and the cause for the phases of the Moon. Observing session attended by about 45 guests including a couple of scout groups.
- Monday 24 March 2014: Talk by Greg Redfern about stuff that could fall out of the sky and hit you was attended by about 65 guests; observing followed and a total of ~80 got to observe something through the 32" RCT.
- Monday 7 April 2014: Observing session CANCELED due to rain.
- Monday 14 April 2014: Talk by Dr. Joe Weingartner at 7:30PM on the Kepler mission and search for exoplanets [talk will take place regardless of weather]. Observing session from 8:00PM to 10:00PM, WEATHER PERMITTING (which doesn't look good at this point in time).
- Monday 21 April 2014: Talk at 8:00PM. Observing session from 8:30PM to 10:30PM.
- Monday 5 May 2014: Canceled due to forecast rain.
- Monday 12 May 2014: Talk at 8:00PM by NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern regarding Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater. Observing session from 8:30PM to 10:30PM.
ENJOY the SUMMER
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.
ALSO NOTE: If you have the time, and the interest in more details about research in astrophysics, come join in our Astrophysics Journal Club.
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