FALL 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 SPRING semester begins.
- Monday 29 August 2016: Talk by Dr. Harold Geller on "A Summer of Anniversaries for Mars, Pluto and the Moon" starts at 7:30PM followed by observing beginning at 8PM weather permitting.
- Monday 5 September 2016: LABOR DAY HOLIDAY - SCHOOL CLOSED
- Monday 12 September 2016: Talk by Dr. Veselin Kostov titled "Planets with Two Suns" starts at 7:30PM followed by observing beginning at 8:00PM weather perimitting.
- Monday 26 September 2016: Talk by Alexander van der Horst POSTPONED until 3 October 2016 due to weather (cloudy with chance of rain).
- Monday 3 October 2016: Talk was given by Alexander van der Horst titled "Hunting for the Most Extreme Transients" About 75 guests enjoyed the talk and then went to observatory to observe the night sky.
- Monday 10 October 2016 -- COLUMBUS DAY HOLIDAY
- Monday 17 October 2016: Talk by Daniel Angerhausen starts at 6:30PM rain or shine. There will be an observing session beginning at 7PM if weather permits.
- Monday 31 October 2016: Talk by Mahmuda Badhan is POSTPONED due to speaker illness.
- Monday 7 November 2016: Talk by Mahmuda Badhan on the "Habitability of Proxima Centauri b" starts at 6:000PM followed by observing
session beginning at 6:30PM weather permitting.
- Monday 14 November 2016: POSTPONEMENT of talk by Ellyn Baines due to weather forecast of rain.
- Monday 21 November 2016: Talk by Ellyn Baines of Naval Research Laboratory starts at 5PM (rain or shine) followed by observing
session beginning at 5:30PM weather permitting.
- Thursday 24 November 2016: UNIVERSITY CLOSED -- HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
- Monday 28 November 2016: Talk by Miki Nakajima POSTPONED until next week due to weather.
- Monday 5 December 2016: Talk by Miki Nakajima on the origin of the Moon will start at 5PM (rain or shine) followed by observing session beginning at 5:30PM weather permitting.
ENJOY the WINTER HOLIDAYS and 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.
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