UPDATE (10:15AM Feb 6): Our viewing went ahead on February 2 – the first successful night-time viewing we’ve had at the observatory since June of 2016! The viewing started out with partly cloudy skies, but the sky cleared as the temperatures dropped and we had pretty good viewing conditions by evening’s end. Over 30 people attended the viewing and all had an opportunity to view craters on the waxing crescent Moon and also see Venus in its waxing crescent phase (for many guests, it was the first time they’d heard of the phases of Venus). Venus was shining quite a bright yellow, so some of our younger guests said it looked like a “space banana”.
The phase of Venus on Feb. 2, as shown in this screenshot from the program Stellarium.
Towards the end of the evening, we had a look at the Orion Nebula, which can be found in the “sword” of the constellation Orion.
The location of the Orion Nebula is shown in the sword of Orion within the square (screenshot from Stellarium).
We couldn’t see all of the colours present in the simulation of the Orion Nebula shown below, but we were able to see the contrast between the denser (darker) bands of gas and the less dense ones, particularly in the upper left portion of the nebula.
Orion Nebula as simulated in Stellarium.
UPDATE (10:45AM Jan. 26): Due to the cloudy weather, we are postponing public viewing originally scheduled for January 26. The viewing is now scheduled for Thursday, February 2 from 6:30-8:30PM. You can come to the viewing at any time in that 2-hour period, but we have a children’s group coming at 6:30PM so the first half-hour or so that group will be given priority access to the telescope.
Our observatory is on the rooftop of UPEI’s Memorial Hall, but we ask that you come first to room 417 to wait for your turn to go up to the telescope. Volunteers from local astronomy groups and UPEI Physics will be available to answer any astronomy questions for you while you wait.
It is necessary to climb a flight of stairs to reach the telescope, but the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor waiting room.
In the evening hours, campus parking lots are free, with parking lots B and C being the nearest lots to Memorial Hall.
If the weather is cloudy and we cannot view the sky, the event will have to be cancelled. This post will be updated in the event of cancellation.