Free public astronomy nights return to Fredonia campus

Submitted Photo Pictured is the SUNY Fredonia observatory.

Along with warmer temperatures, the eagerly awaited arrival of April signals the start of free public astronomy nights, held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month through October, at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Visitors will gather in the Jewett Hall lobby by 8:15 p.m. for an interactive digital planetarium show that gives an overview of what’s currently visible in the night sky in Jewett Hall, explained Department of Physics Assistant Professor Michael Dunham, who leads the astronomy nights. The program begins promptly at 8:30 p.m. No late arrivals to the planetarium will be permitted.

Weather permitting, the program will shift to the rooftop observatory at the Science Center to view celestial objects through the telescope. Attendees may also set up their own portable telescopes on the viewing deck alongside the observatory.

Telescope viewing will continue until approximately midnight, though visitors are not required to stay for the entire time.

Should the weather not permit telescope viewing, an extended planetarium show will be presented to those interested in staying that incorporates one or more of the fulldome educational films available in the content library. Fredonia students learning how to operate the planetarium may also use these nights as opportunities to gain experience giving public planetarium shows.

Each astronomy night session is limited to 30 visitors due to seating, so advanced reservations are required. The google signup page can be accessed through the following link: www.bit.ly/fredobs

Students, faculty, staff and members of surrounding communities with interests in space and/or astronomy are welcome.

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