Public Observing

Visiting Van Vleck Observatory

There are several choices for the public to visit the observatory and view the sky through our telescopes:

Weekly public observing (during the academic semester only)

Weather-permitting, weekly public observing at Van Vleck Observatory is held on Wednesday evenings during the normal academic semester. Please check the Wesleyan Events Calendar to see if classes are in session. We invite members of the Wesleyan and Middletown communities to come view the skies through our telescopes. The telescope are open from 8:00 - 9:00 pm, however not all objects of interest may be available throughout that time. This event is free and open to everyone. Wednesday night observing will not happen during University holidays or during final exams.
Clear skies are mandatory.

Clear Sky Chart:

Follow WesAstro on Twitter Want to know if observing is happening?  Follow us on Twitter! @WesAstro

Monthly Saturday Night Observing (Runs All Year Long)

Organized and hosted by the Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford (ASGH), these observing sessions will use our 16" telescope as well as various smaller telescopes while the 20" refractor is undergoing restoration. For details please visit the ASGH website.

2014/15 Schedule for Saturday public observing:

October 18, 9:00 - 11:00pm
November 15, 8:00 - 10:00pm
December 13, 8:00 - 10:00pm
January 24, 2015, 8:00 - 10:00pm
February 21, 2015, Van Vleck Crater night, 7:00 - 9:00pm
March 21, 2015, 8:00 - 10:00pm
April 25, 2015: 9:00 - 11:00pm
May 22 and 23, 2015, Commencement/Reunion Weekend, 9:00 - 11:00pm
June 20, 2015, 9:00 - 11:00pm
July 18, 2015, 9:00 - 11:00pm
August 8, 2015, 9:00 - 11:00pm
September 19, 2015, 9:00 - 11:00pm
October 17, 2015, 9:00 - 11:00pm
November 6 & 7, 2015, Homecoming Weekend, 8:00 - 10:00pm
December 5, 2015, 8:00 - 10:00pm

Group Visits

Van Vleck Observatory sponsors day and evening group visits to our institution. Daytime tours (usually reserved for school groups) consist of a brief lecture on current astronomical events that can be viewed from one's back yard, a slide show, and a walk through of our facility. Evening tours are usually held on a predesignated evening, which may or may not coincide with Wednesday Public Observing, and are of a rain or shine, open-house nature. To schedule a group visit to the observatory, please contact Roy Kilgard. For Saturday observing, consult the ASGH website. For Wednesday observing, consult the Middletown weather forecast.


Directions to the observatory can be found on our directions page.

Parking at the Observatory

For those joining us from off campus please DO NOT PARK IN THE OBSERVATORY PARKING LOT.Parking is available on Vine St. near the tennis courts. To get to the observatory from there cross the street and take the long stairs to the top of the hill. The observatory is the stone building with all the white domes on it. A campus map can be found here.