MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-On Wednesday evenings, Aug. 4 and 11, from 9-10:30 p.m., the Middlebury College Physics Department will hold its last two open house nights of the summer season at Bicentennial Hall's rooftop observatory, weather permitting. There is no set program; the public is invited to come anytime during these hours. Admission is free.
According to Middlebury College Professor of Physics Frank Winkler, the Aug. 11 date coincides with the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Visitors should be able to view a number of meteors from the rooftop deck that evening, though observers will be able to see these equally well from any location with an unobstructed view and dark sky. "With virtually no moon to interfere, this should be a great year for the Perseids," said Winkler.
The observatory dome houses a 24-inch computer-controlled telescope, and several smaller telescopes also will be available on the roof deck.
Since cloud cover obscures visibility, the open house nights will take place only if the sky is reasonably clear. If the weather appears uncertain, call the observatory at 802-443-2266 after 6 p.m. on the evenings of the open house for a status report.
Bicentennial Hall is located on Bicentennial Way on the western edge of the Middlebury College campus. Visitors should follow state Route 125 West from the village center through the campus. Bicentennial Way, which is the second right after the flashing light at the crest of the hill, leads to a parking lot and Bicentennial Hall. Enter the building and take the elevators to the top floor, following the signs.
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