Night Observing Session

Fall 2021

Night observing sessions will be held at the Campus Observatory, southeast of Foellinger Auditorium. Objects to be featured at the observing sessions will be the Moon, planets, double stars, star clusters, gaseous nebulae and in rare circumstances a distant galaxy. You might even be lucky enough to see a comet. Each observing session will concentrate on only a few objects. Please see your class syllabus and/or webpage for specific information on the assignment you must complete.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, students are required to wear masks at all times during night observing sessions. In addition, entering the Observatory requires a current Building Access Granted status in the Safer Illinois App.

OBSERVATORY STATIONS

At the session there will be 3 stations which you will visit:

  • 12-inch Telescope - This telescope is in the Observatory Dome. To access this telescope, enter the Observatory via the door on the north side of the building (across from Smith Music Hall). To ensure proper social distancing in the dome and control traffic on the stairs, students will given "time tickets" to enter the dome. See the Observing Assistant in the Observatory Lobby for a time ticket, and please assemble in the Observatory Lobby 5 minutes before your assigned observing time. Please be patient during observing, as Observing Assistants will be using wipes to sanitize the telescope eyepiece between each user.
  • Portable Telescopes - These telescopes will be set up in the Observatory backyard, between the Observatory and Morrow Plots to the south. Please be patient during observing, as Observing Assistants will be using wipes to sanitize the telescope eyepiece between each user.
  • Constellation Sky Tour - This will also take place in the Observatory backyard. An Observing Assistant will conduct a tour of constellations, stars, and planets currently up in the night sky.

DATES & TIMES

Observing session dates are tentatively scheduled as follows. Status updates for night observing sessions, including weather-related cancellations, will be posted to the Astronomy Night Observing Session Status Update Blog.

  • Monday, October 18, 7:30-9:30pm
  • Tuesday, October 19, 7:30-9:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 20, 7:30-9:30pm
  • Thursday, October 21, 7:30-9:30pm
  • Monday, October 27, 7:30-9:30pm
  • Tuesday, October 28, 7:30-9:30pm
  • Wednesday, October 29, 7:30-9:30pm
  • Thursday, October 30, 7:30-9:30pm

* Note: Instructors may have additional restrictions on allowed dates for their classes, check with your instructor or TA..

You may arrive when you wish, but be sure to allow approximately 45 minutes to one hour to complete all the observation stations before the end of session. Dress warmly.

All are welcome to look through the telescopes, including your friends.

WEATHER-RELATED CANCELLATIONS

Observing can be done only if the sky is clear. Sometimes it will be clear an hour before a session is to start, only to cloud over in the next hour. At other times the sky is cloudy at the time we want to open the observatory and it clears up after the professors and the T.A.s have gone home. It is obvious to say that the professors and T.A.s who are involved cannot control the weather, but we try to cope with the circumstances as best we can.

Also, if the temperature (including wind chill) is under 20 F, the session will be cancelled.

Subscribe to the Night Observing Session Status Update Blog below to receive notifications when a session is canceled due to weather conditions.

NIGHT OBSERVING SESSION STATUS UPDATES

Updates for night observing sessions, including weather-related cancellations, will be posted to the Astronomy Night Observing Session Status Update Blog.

You can subscribe to the blog to get updates sent to you automatically!

Post to the Observing Session Status Update Blog (Staff only).