MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-On Wednesday evenings, July 7 and 21, from 9-10:30 p.m., the Middlebury College Physics Department will hold open house nights 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 bright planet Jupiter and its moons will still be visible in July, but it will fade into evening twilight by the end of the month and gradually disappear until next winter. With little or no moonlight to interfere, many faint star clusters and other objects should also be visible.
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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