FALL 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 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 scheduled observing sessions until the SPRING semester begins.
- Monday 26 August 2013: Dr. Geller spoke about "How will the Kanamits serve mankind?" About 40 in attendance. No observing was possible due to a problem with the observatory computer controls. Dr. Rosenberg apologizes for the inconvenience to the guests.
- Monday 2 September 2013: LABOR DAY HOLIDAY - SCHOOL CLOSED
- Monday 9 September 2013: CANCELED
- Monday 16 September 2013: Darryl Wilson spoke about observing Saturn at 8 PM. Observing after talk with about 40 people in attendance.
- Monday 23 September 2013: Talk at 8 PM was given by Dr. Chris Clarke on the debate about 'fracking'. Observing followed the talk. About 30 in attendance.
- Monday 7 October 2013: CANCELLED due to weather conditions.
- Monday 14 October 2013: About 15 in attendance to hear Lauren Wilson talk about the use of hunting in conservation as applied to game animals. Great views of the Moon were highlighted.
- Monday 21 October 2013: Adam Cadien discussed the basics of modern experimental and computational methods for finding atomic structure. ~60 guests enjoyed observing through the GMU telescope.
- Monday 4 November 2013: CANCELLED due to forecast.
- Monday 11 November 2013: Advait Jukar gave a Mass Extinctions talk. About 65 people enjoyed the talk and some Moon observing before clouds covered up everything.
- Monday 18 November 2013: Talk on Fungi Symbiosis by Manuela Dal-Forno. ~70 people in attendance. Uranus and Moon were focus of observing for attendees.
- 28 Thursday 2013: UNIVERSITY CLOSED -- HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
- Monday 2 December 2013: Talk and observing is CANCELLED due to clouds forecast for tonight.
- Monday 9 December 2013: Talk on radio astronomy is re-scheduled for this evening.
ENJOY the WINTER HOLIDAYS and BREAK from classes
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