Solar Viewing at AVC Open House 2022 – CANCELLED

UPDATE: This event has been cancelled due to the closure of the UPEI campus as a result of the storm Fiona.

The Department of Physics is going to participate in the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) Open House once again, but this time instead of setting up a table with physics activities indoors, we’re going to bring our solar telescopes.

Our solar telescopes: (left) a hydrogen-alpha telescope, that allows us to observe the sun’s chromosphere by looking at only the red light emitted by excited hydrogen; (right) a white-light “Sunspotter” that projects and image of the sun’s photosphere, allowing us to observe sunspots.

On Saturday, October 1, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, we’ll be set up outside the north end of the AVC building with our hydrogen-alpha and white-light solar telescopes so that you can observe different features of the sun, our nearest star. We’ll also have a few activities related to the sun and sunlight for you to try.

If it’s too cloudy, we won’t be able to view the sun, so we won’t set up anything. However, the rest of the AVC Open House will still be running with lots of fun, interesting activities for people of all ages.

Solar Viewings – August 2022

UPDATE: August 25 viewing CANCELLED due to cloudy weather

UPDATE: August 18 viewing CANCELLED due to cloudy weather

UPDATE: August 11 viewing CANCELLED due to cloudy weather

We are back for public viewings! It was winter of 2020 that we last had an event at our observatory and August of 2019 when we last had a viewing with our solar telescope. We plan to return to events at the observatory in the fall, but during these long summer days we’ll make use of our solar telescope set up on the ground.

View of H-alpha solar telescope
Our H-alpha solar telescope

For these viewings, we’ll have our hydrogen-alpha solar telescope set up, which will let you view the atmosphere of the sun safely. We’ll also have our new “Sunspotter” telescope set up, which will let you see any sunspots on the sun’s surface via a projected image.

Our new “Sunspotter” telescope projects an image of the sun on to a white screen, showing any sunspots present on the sun’s surface.

We’re tentatively scheduling solar viewings for every Thursday in August, 12-1pm on the UPEI campus. These events are weather dependent, so this post will be updated if we have to cancel due to cloudy weather.

  • August 4 – Successful viewing with over 30 people attending.
  • August 11 – CANCELLED due to cloudy weather
  • August 18 – CANCELLED due to cloudy weather
  • August 25 – CANCELLED due to cloudy weather

The telescope will be set-up outside of the FSDE building. That’s building 30 on the campus map. The nearest parking lot is the MacLauchlan Arena parking lot.

View of the FSDE building.
The solar telescope will be set up outside the main entrance to the FSDE building (the doors opposite the entrance to MacLauchlan Arena).
The solar viewing event will be held outside the entrance of the FSDE building (indicated by orange star on the map). Parking is available in UPEI Lots D & E and the MacLauchlan Arena lot.

UPDATE: June 15 Viewing Cancelled

UPDATED: The forecast for the evening of Sunday, June 15 is no better than it was for Saturday evening, so the rescheduled viewing will also have to be cancelled. Hopefully conditions will be better next month in July so our viewing can go ahead then!

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This viewing is scheduled at a later hour and with a shorter duration because, of course, the sun is setting later and later as we approach the summer solstice so we are having fewer hours of darkness suitable for astronomical viewings.

Everyone is welcome to attend public viewings.  To do so, meet in Memorial Hall in room 417 and you will be guided up to the observatory when it is available.  It is necessary to climb the stairs one floor up to the observatory, however the elevator can be taken up to the 4th floor before doing so.

Public viewings are co-hosted by the UPEI Physics Department and the Charlottetown Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).

April 12th Public Viewing: A Full House! (Updated)

Moon1024x640_Andrew_Clark_2007

A view of the Moon through the UPEI telescope on an evening several years ago.

After several cancelled viewings due to poor weather, we finally got a successful viewing in this Saturday, April 12 – in terms of weather and attendance! The sky cleared up before the viewing and the clouds rolled back in just as it was ending.  About 25 people came out and were treated to views through our telescope and astronomy instruction. Our telescope operator for the night, Mark (a volunteer from RASC) showed guests Jupiter and its moons followed up by Earth’s own Moon.

StellariumScreenshot

Stellarium is a computer program that shows the positions and motions of stars in our sky.

While guests waited for their opportunity to go up to the telescope, fellow RASC volunteer Brian discussed the viewing objects, gave a tour of the night sky using Stellarium, and answered general astronomy questions.

It was an enjoyable night of astronomy for all involved and we hope to see just as many people at our next viewing. The time for the next public viewing is not yet set, but will likely be the second Saturday in May. Details will be posted here when available.

Public viewings are co-hosted by the UPEI Physics Department and the Charlottetown Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).