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:

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Monthly Saturday Night Observing (Runs All Year Long)

Organized and hosted by the Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford (ASGH), this is a great opportunity to view the sky through our beautiful 20" refractor. Refurbished in recent years in honor of Walter Scott "Scotty" Houston who used this instrument many nights, we can now share this telescope with the public on regular occasions. For details please visit the ASGH website.

2014 Schedule for public observing on our 20" refractor:

February 1, 8:00 - 10:00pm
March 1, 8:00 - 10:00pm
March 22, 8:00 - 10:00pm, Special Mars viewing!
April 5, 9:00 - 11:00pm
April 26, 9:00 - 11:00pm, Special Mars viewing!
May 23 (Friday), 9:00 - 11:00pm, Commencement and Reunion Weekend
May 24, 9:00 - 11:00pm, Commencement and Reunion Weekend
June 21, 9:00 - 11:00pm
July 19, 9:00 - 11:00pm
August 16, 9:00 - 11:00pm
September 13, 9:00 - 11:00pm
October 17 (Friday), 9:00 - 11:00pm, Homecoming Weekend
October 18, 9:00 - 11:00pm, Homecoming Weekend
November 15, 8:00 - 10:00pm
December 13, 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

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.