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Public Observing at the Van Vleck Observatory

PUBLIC OBSERVING IS NOW OPEN – WELCOME BACK!

Please be aware of the following COVID-19 policy:

  • Proof of Vaccination including all eligible boosters is required. Be prepared to show your vaccination card or be refused entrance.
  • If you have symptoms of Covid-19, please stay home. If staff see anyone having visible symptoms of Covid-19, entrance may be refused and it will be suggested that you get tested immediately.
  • Masks are required indoors.  They must cover both your nose and mouth at all times while in an indoor space at the Observatory.  Masks may be removed in the dome as directed by staff only.
  • Social distancing (6 feet) must be maintained in both spaces.  If you traveled together in one car as a family, you may stay together as long as you maintain 6 feet distance from all others properly and are symptom free.

Hosted by volunteers from the Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford and sponsored by the Astronomy Department of Wesleyan University. Public observing is always free and open to everyone.

Join us for a look through the historic 20-inch refractor and other telescopes. All who come will have an opportunity to see through the eyepiece, weather permitting. We will be viewing prominent objects in the night sky such as the moon, globular clusters, planets, nebulas, or galaxies. The objects viewed will change each month, or even during your visit.

All are welcome.

If you would like to attend an observing event, please see the directions and important parking information here. Starting time and other information for each date is also listed. Please note there is no parking at the observatory at all, but you certainly may drop off passengers who have difficulty with stairs or changes in elevation. The small parking lot adjacent to the observatory building is for staff use only and you will likely be ticketed.

If the chart above is not up-to-date in your browser, click on it to get the current predictions.

Public observing sessions are cancelled for adverse weather conditions. Announcements will be above the observing dates at left and in our Groups.io e-mail group by 6:00 pm on the day of the session.

Note that should the weather not permit observing due to precipitation or heavy cloud cover, we will not open the telescopes. Use your best judgment in looking at the sky before you leave for the observatory. If clouds cover the entire sky, we cannot see the stars. If you have a telescope and need support, you may bring it even if we cannot observe by contacting us in advance to make arrangements for assistance. Our members can help walk you through setup and operation, even indoors.

Please note that while there is a ramp to the building, the telescopes are only accessible by staircases with several steps. Often a viewing ladder on wheels will be used to reach the necessary position at the telescope. Persons who must use a wheelchair will need to be able to leave the chair for viewing through the telescopes inside the observatory.

Visit ASGH-Events@groups.io to view notifications regarding upcoming Public Observing sessions.