MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Visitors are welcome to observe the night skies, including the planet Saturn with its spectacular rings and Titan moon, during Open House Nights at the Middlebury College Observatory this summer.
The inaugural event was scheduled for Wednesday, July 2, from 9 to 10:30 p.m., with subsequent viewing sessions set to take place on July 23, July 30, August 6, and August 13.
The Observatory is located in McCardell Bicentennial Hall on the far western edge of the Middlebury College campus. From Middlebury village, drive west on Vermont Route 125 and turn right on Bicentennial Way. After parking, enter the building and take the elevator to the 7th floor.
Open House Nights, which are free and open to the public, will take place when the sky is mostly clear. If the weather is uncertain, visitors are advised to call the Observatory after 7 p.m. at (802) 443-2266 or consult the Observatory’s new website for up-to-the-minute details.
The Observatory dome houses a powerful 24-inch computer-controlled telescope capable of peering into deep space. In addition there are smaller telescopes mounted on the roof deck ideal for viewing the planets and prominent summer stars such as Vega, Arcturus, Spica, and Altair.
Open House Nights will be staffed by Jonathan Kemp, the College’s new telescope specialist, and a variety of assistants from the Department of Physics. Since there is no set program the public is invited to arrive any time between 9 and 10:30 p.m. on nights when viewing is scheduled. Please note that Language Schools are now in session at the College so visitors are asked to keep their use of English to a minimum.