MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - On Thursday evening, July 5, and Wednesday evenings July 11, July 18 and July 25, from 9-10:30 p.m., the Middlebury College Physics Department will hold its annual series of open house nights at McCardell 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, Venus and Saturn should still be visible low in the west in early July, while Jupiter and its moons will be prominent throughout the summer. On moonless nights, many interesting star clusters and other objects should become visible later in the evening as skies darken.
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 7 p.m. on the evening of the open house for a status report.
McCardell Bicentennial Hall is located on Bicentennial Way on the western edge of the Middlebury College campus. Visitors should follow 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 McCardell Bicentennial Hall. Enter the building and take the elevators to the top floor, following the signs.