July 30, 2021
44 University Dr.
Dallas, PA 18612
Friedman Observatory Open House
Friday, July 30, 2021
Please check the website. These events are weather permitting.
What to Expect During Your Visit to the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Friedman Observatory Open House
- A lot of enthusiasm about the night sky and astronomical observing. Please have your astronomy questions ready!
- The Friedman Observatory open houses are free of charge and open to the public.
- The cosmos are always available for us to observe (depending on weather), and we will be viewing as many night-sky targets as possible with the telescopes, including planets, the Moon, nebulae, galaxies, star clusters and the occasional comet, so plan to stay as long as you would like, but please feel free to come and go as you wish.
- The Friedman Observatory houses a large Meade 16-inch LX200 ACF telescope in the main Observatory dome, as well as several smaller portable telescopes. Depending on the time of year and what is prominent in the night sky during the open house, we will be observing with either the large Meade telescope or a combination of the Meade and the portable telescopes.
- The level of detail you can see in the telescopes might not be comparable to images from other observatories you may have seen online and in publications. High-quality astronomy photographs are usually created using much longer exposures and computer-aided post-processing, making them appear very impressive. Regardless, you will still be observing light from very faint astronomical targets that has traveled hundreds and thousands of light-years to reach you!
- Observing sessions will be held both inside and outside of the observatory dome. This is different than in the past, and the reasons for this change are three-fold: (1) Occasionally, more people visit than can fit comfortably into the dome at one time, (2) We often hear from visitors that they would like to understand more about the constellations, and it is difficult to observe large parts of the sky with the constellations from inside of the dome and (3) The spiral stairs leading up to the observation deck and the Meade telescope are understandably impossible or intimidating to climb for some visitors. Observing outside of the dome will provide these visitors with other options.
- Depending on the crowd on any given night, there may be longish wait times for your turn at the eyepiece, but we try to fill the time with discussions on astronomy-related topics.
- If attending an open house, please be mindful of the weather. The stars are out at night after the Sun has set and the temperature will typically drop a few degrees while observing, especially on clear nights. It's best to plan attire around standing for an hour or two (or longer!) in colder than expected conditions. In years past, some of the more interesting observing sessions have taken place long after the crowds have dispersed.
- As time and weather permits, there will be a presentation about various aspects of astronomy just prior to sunset. Topics covered in the past have included basic observing concepts, the history of astronomical observation, overviews of the various kinds of telescopes, virtual tours of the solar system, and basic physics concepts related to astronomy. If interested in attending, please arrive at the published starting time for the open house. The presentations are held in the auditorium in the adjoining Bell Technology building.
- Bathroom facilities are available in the adjoining Bell technology building, which closes at 9 PM. After the building closes there will be no bathroom facilities available on campus. Please plan accordingly.
- Parking is available in any of the campus parking lots during an open house