MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-On Wednesday evenings, June 16 and 23, 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, highlights will include the planet Jupiter and its moons, but, with little moonlight to interfere, many faint star clusters and other objects should be visible. If the skies are extremely clear, visitors may be able to glimpse comet Linear near the western horizon as twilight fades.
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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