Winter 2024 Public Viewings

We will once again schedule viewings every two weeks this semester, anticipating that at least half of the events will be cancelled by cloudy weather. We’re also switching our viewing night to a weekday evening (to work around the early building lock-up that happens on weekends).

The dates and times that we’ve scheduled are below. Note that the event times shift later as the dates get closer to the spring equinox (and that the times jump an hour later in March after Daylight Saving Time begins).

  • Thursday, February 1, 7:00-9:00 PM CANCELLED due to cloudy weather
  • Thursday, February 15, 7:00-9:00 PM CANCELLED due to cloudy weather
  • Thursday, February 29, 7:30-9:30 PM
  • Thursday, March 14, 8:30-10:30 PM
  • Thursday, March 28, 8:30-10:30 PM

In the event of cloudy weather, this post will be updated to indicate if an event is cancelled.

If you’re coming to our event, meet us in room 417 of Memorial Hall. We’ll have some astronomy activities and information for a variety of ages that you can peruse while you wait for your turn to go up to the observatory.

Accessibility: You can take an elevator up to room 417, but it is necessary to climb stairs from there up to the roof and into the observatory to reach the telescope.

Fall 2023 Public Viewings

This fall, we are going to try scheduling a viewing approximately every two weeks, with the expectation that cloudy weather will likely force us to cancel half of the events. We have used this strategy in recent years for our summer solar viewings with reasonable success; now we’ll see how it works with PEI fall weather!

  • Saturday, November 4, 7:00-9:00 PM – a challenging viewing with patchy clouds, but 44 guests got to view Jupiter and its 4 largest moons.
  • Saturday, November 18, 6:30-8:30 PM CANCELLED (due to cloudy weather)
  • Saturday, December 2, 6:30-8:30 PM CANCELLED (due to cloudy weather)
  • Thursday, December 21 (the winter solstice), 6:00-8:00 PM CANCELLED (due to cloudy weather)

In the event of cloudy weather, this post will be updated to indicate if an event is cancelled.

If you’re coming to our event, meet us in room 417 of Memorial Hall. We’ll have some astronomy activities and information for a variety of ages that you can peruse while you wait for your turn to go up to the observatory.

Accessibility: You can take an elevator up to room 417, but it is necessary to climb stairs from there up to the roof and into the observatory to reach the telescope.

International Observe the Moon Night 2023 – CANCELLED

UPDATE (7:40am Oct 21): Due to the cloudy weather, this event has been cancelled.

Join people around the world viewing the moon on Saturday, October 21 by stopping by our observatory between 7:00 and 9:00 pm, where you can get an up-close view of our astronomical neighbour.

Come to Memorial Hall room 417 where Physics Department staff or local astronomy enthusiasts will greet you and direct you up to the observatory when it is your turn. There will be moon-themed activities for all ages while you wait.

If clouds block the view of the moon, this event will be cancelled. This post will be updated by 9:00am on October 21 in the event of a cancellation.

Accessibility: While you can take an elevator up to the 4th floor of Memorial Hall, it is necessary to be able to climb stairs to reach the roof and the observatory.

Solar Viewings – Summer 2023

We will be once again holding viewings of the sun with our solar telescopes this summer. We will hold events on the following dates (every second Tuesday) from 12:00-1:30pm.

  • July 11 CANCELLED DUE TO CLOUDY WEATHER
  • July 25 – attended by over 40 people!
  • August 8 CANCELLED DUE TO CLOUDY WEATHER
  • August 22 – attended by over 30 people, and the clouds mostly held off until the end of the event.

If it’s too cloudy to see the sun, then we will have to cancel the event. This post will be updated in the event of any cancellations.

We’re going to try something new this year. In addition to using our ground-based hydrogen-alpha telescope to view the sun’s atmosphere, we’re also going to make use of our new(ish) white-light solar filter for our observatory telescope. This means that visitors to our event will get to view the sun in two different ways and also get to go inside the rooftop Earl L. Wonnacott Observatory.

The meeting location for this event will be the grassy area between Memorial Hall and Robertson Library (see campus map below). There you’ll find one telescope set up and we’ll direct you on how to find your way to the observatory when space is available. (Due to the observatory’s small size, we have to control how many people can go into it at once.)

The event will be held between Memorial Hall (building 9) and Robertson Library (building 15) and is marked with a yellow star on the campus map above. Parking is available in campus lots A, (ungated) B, D, and the MacLauchlan Arena lot.

Accessibility: To reach our observatory, you must be able to climb stairs, because the building’s elevator can’t take people beyond the fourth floor, and the observatory is a storey above that. However, our ground-based telescope is accessible for people with limited mobility.

December 21, 2022 Public Viewing – CANCELLED

UPDATE (10:45AM, Dec 21): The forecast this evening looks like it will be more cloudy than not, so we are cancelling this viewing. We will try again in 2023 at a date to be determined.

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We will mark the winter solstice and the longest night by having a viewing at our observatory on Wednesday, December 21 from 7:00-9:00pm (weather permitting). Everyone is welcome to drop by to have a look through our telescope in the Earl L. Wonnacott Observatory.

The meeting spot for this event is room 417 of Memorial Hall (get directions and parking information). Depending on how many people are attending, you may have to wait a bit for your turn to go up to the telescope. We’ll have some activities and information available to entertain you while you wait.

Please note that masks will be required for this event. UPEI currently requires masks to be worn in instructional spaces unless physical distancing of at least 2 metres can be maintained. Because the observatory is only about 2 metres in diameter, masks must be worn inside it. Masks must also be worn in Memorial Hall room 417 unless you are physically-distanced from other attendees.

To access the observatory, it is necessary to be able to climb a set of stairs over one storey in height.

The observatory is unheated, so bring clothing that is warm enough to permit you to stand in outdoor temperatures for at least 20 minutes. (The waiting room is indoors and heated.)

If the sky is cloudy on the night of the event, the viewing may have to be cancelled. This post will be updated if there are any changes to the event status.