Tag Archives: Van Vleck Observatory

ASGH Public Observing

hs-2003-13-a-web_printFrom Stephanie Ling ’16:

Do you have a fascination with space? Would you like to have a chance to learn about and look through Wesleyan’s telescopes without having to take an astronomy class?

Stop by Van Vleck Observatory on Saturday night! If the viewing conditions are clear, members of the Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford (ASGH) will be hosting their last free public observing night of 2015. Join us for a look at the moon, globular clusters, planets, nebula, and even other galaxies!

For more information about the event, check out the ASGH’s website,

Date: Saturday, December 5th
Time: 8PM-11PM
Place: Van Vleck Observatory

The Stars: Up Close and Personal

If you’re into Star Wars or Despicable Me or that one movie with Sandra Bullock, you’d be into this cool thing the Astronomy department is doing: public observing nights!

Via their official flyer:

Starting on February 4th, the Van Vleck Observatory at Wesleyan University will open its doors to the public every Wednesday night, rain or shine, for a series of space nights. Come talk to students and faculty about the latest space-related discoveries by scientists at Wesleyan and around the world. For the spring semester, the events will begin with a half-hour presentation followed by a chance to see the sky through Wesleyan’s telescopes (weather permitting). Space nights are intended to be for visitors of all ages, although the talks are primarily aimed at high school level and above.

And now, some real Roth photos taken from our very own Van Vleck Observatory.

Space Nights at the Observatory

From Meredith Hughes:

Do you like space? Want to find out about the latest in astronomy and look through Wesleyan’s telescopes without taking a class? Stop by the observatory on Wednesday night! This semester, observatory nights start off with a short presentation about space by one of our astronomy majors or grad students, followed by observing through the telescopes(weather permitting).

On Feb 11 Jesse Tarnas ’17 will talk about lavatubes in space, and their importance for human space exploration. Even if the weather is cloudy, we’ll show you how to find Comet Lovejoy through binoculars so you can check it out on the next clear night.

Come by any Wednesday at 8pm for open observatory nights. They’re out of this world!

Date: Tonight (but also any Wednesday)
Time: 8PM
Place: Van Vleck Observatory

Mercury In Regular-grade, Van Vleck Equipped To View It

Does this mean that our telescope is still 1 inch longer than Amherst’s?

Although I’m not currently on campus to confirm this breaking news, the Van Vleck Observatory might look a little different these days. The almost 100 year-old 20-inch refractor telescope is getting computerized, so that it will be much easier to use. The telescope itself was built in 1916, but it was installed in 1920 (there was a bit of a delay because the glass lens was ordered from Germany and so World War I made speedy delivery impossible). I suppose it was worth the wait because, according to the Astronomy Department, “the glass quality was found to be very high across the whole disk, allowing a 20 inch aperture rather than the 18.5 inches that had been ordered.” The telescope was used to help Walter Scott Houston research his lovely column that ran in the 1950s, “Deep-Sky Wonders.” 

The good news for younger students is that once the project is completed in 2016, the observatory will be open for viewing on every clear night, not just twice a month. You can stay up-to-date with the restoration process by following the Astronomy Department’s twitter feed.

Venus Viewing @ Van Vleck = Vivacious Visual Vacation

If you’re on campus this dismal Tuesday afternoon and want to sight some Venus Transit Authority before it’s too late (according to EarthSky, the next transit of Venus won’t occur until 2117—that’s past even Martin Benjamin ’57’s lifespan), head over to VanWyngarden Vleck Observatory right now for some good old-fashioned staring into space. According to Middletown Patch, the observatory will be offering a live video stream of the event and resources regarding previous transits of Venus:

Even if the weather is cloudy, Wesleyan will still hold a celebration of Venus with live video streams of the transit in the observatory classroom, and a collection of rare books from the Special Collections and Archives at Wesleyan’s Olin Library with information about the 18th- and 19th-century transits of Venus.

The transit starts just past 6 p.m., and the observatory will be open beginning around 5:30 p.m. and running until 8:15 p.m. Information on parking can be found here.

WesFest Public Observing!

Come see some awesome astronomical objects tonight at Van Vleck Observatory! We’ll be operating the 16-inch reflecting telescope and maybe the colossal 20-inch refracting telescope too. Stop in for a few minutes and you might see some planets, nebulae, stars (duh), and maybe a galaxy or two. Bring your pre-frosh!

Date: Tonight, Apr. 13
Time: 9:00PM – 11:00PM
Place: Van Vleck Observatory
Cost: Nuttin’