SPRING 2015 Astronomy Observing Sessions
Check back often to see changes in scheduling due to weather or other reasons.
Also see us at:
Sun/Moon Rise/Set and Phases for DC metro for 2015 by Milt Roney
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 26 January 2015: CANCELED due to inclement weather.
- Monday 2 February 2015: Dr. Summer's talk about Pluto and the New Horizons Mission was attended to by ~20 guests. No observing was able to take place due to high winds following the storm.
- Monday 9 February 2015: CANCELED due to inclement weather.
- Monday 16 February 2015: All activities CANCELED today due to inclement weather forecast.
- Monday 23 February 2015: Talk by Dr Justin Finke, Naval Research Lab, about gamma-ray astronomy with the Fermi Space Telescope was attended by about 25 guests. Due to lack of snow removal on roof we were prevented from taking guests to observatory for observing session.
- Monday 9 March 2015: CANCELED due to forecast of overcast (cloudy) skies.
- Monday 16 March 2015: Talk by Michael Kelley about Comets was heard by ~50 guests followed by some observing of Venus and Jupiter for a brief time in observatory.
- Monday 23 March 2015: CANCELED due to clouds forecast.
- Monday 30 March 2015: Dr. Sarah Horst's talk on "Planetary Atmospheres" was well received by ~65 guests. Observing took place after the talk focusing on Jupiter and the Moon.
- Monday 6 April 2015: Dr. Geller spoke about dwarf planets, asteroids and comets. ~50 guest in attendance. Partly cloudy but some observing was possible, including Venus and Jupiter.
- Monday 13 April 2015: Marshall Eubanks spoke about "Mining in the Solar System." ~15 guests in attendance. Due to weather, guests were shown observatory, but there was no observing the sky done.
- Monday 20 April 2015: CANCELED due to forecast of rain and more rain.
- Monday 27 April 2015: Dr. Michael Corcoran to talk at 8:00PM about the end-life of stars, with observing followed beginning at 8:30PM, weather permitting.
- Monday 4 May 2015: Dr. Michael Summers spoke sbout New Horizons mission to Pluto at 8:00PM observing of Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Venus and more began at 8:45 PM.
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.
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