Spring 2013 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 TUESDAY 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 scheduled observing sessions until the fall semester begins.
- Tuesday 22 January 2013: Only a handful of guests, which was fortunate because the elevator to the roof was out of service. Dr. Geller spoke only once about the Hawking Harmful ETI Hypothesis. A few hardy souls walked up to the observatory. There were telescope pointing issues, but once resolved, guests saw Moon, Jupiter, Uranus and portions of the Pleiades.
- Tuesday 29 January 2013: Dr. Geller spoke once about the Hawking Harmful ETI Hypothesis. About a dozen guests managed to get a view of Jupiter and its moons before the talk and before clouds moved in.
- Tuesday 5 February 2013: CANCELED
- Tuesday 12 February 2013: Dr. Michael Summers spoke about the Implications of Finding Alien Life. Observing was limited for the 65+ guests because of the incoming clouds. Jupiter and its Galilean moons was visible in the 32" telescope.
- Tuesday 19 February 2013: Manuela Dal Forno delivered an excellent talk on The World of Lichens, twice. Although the evening started out quite cloudy, as time passed, so did the clouds. The hearty guests (~20) were treated to rather good views of the Moon and Jupiter and its Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
- Tuesday 5 March 2013: CANCELLED due to clouds, rain/snow predicted.
- 10-17 March 2013 - SPRING BREAK !!!
- Tuesday 19 March 2013: Darryl Wilson spoke about observing Jupiter. About 30 attendees got to see Moon and Jupiter mostly.
- Tuesday 2 April 2013: Dr. Chris Clarke to speak about the autism-vaccine controversy and the media. 1st talk at 7PM, same talk at 7:45PM, observing starts at 7:30PM until 9PM.
- Tuesday 16 April 2013: CANCELLED
- Tuesday 23 April 2013: Nathan Secrest talked about Black Holes and Galactic Interactions. ~40 people total in attendance. Moon and Jupiter main observing targets.
- Tuesday 30 April 2013: CANCELLED
- Tuesday 7 May 2013: Advait Jukar presented (~20 attendees) Feathered Dinosaurs: On the Origin and Early Evolution of Birds; OBSERVING CANCELLED due to clouds/rain.
- Tuesday 14 May 2013: Joe Weingartner talked (~40 sttendees) about atmospheric phenomena especially rainbows and why the sky is blue. Talk at ~7:30PM, OBSERVING CANCELLED due to weather.
ENJOY the SUMMER BREAK
Coming this summer, a book titled "Extraterrestrial Altruism" edited by Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, with a chapter by Dr. Harold Geller, tentatively titled "Harmful ETI Hypothesis Denied; Visiting ETIs Likely Altruists," see http://www.springer.com/astronomy/astrobiology/book/978-3-642-37749-5
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