Western Connecticut State University will host biweekly Saturday evening shows and viewings of planetary and stellar objects during public nights from March 10 through May 5 at the WCSU Planetarium and Observatory on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.
The five Saturday presentations will include a one-hour planetarium show followed by telescope viewing of prominent features in the night sky including the moon, Jupiter and star systems, clusters and nebulae visible during the spring months. A closing event in the series also is scheduled for Monday, May 21, featuring sky observation only. The WCSU Observatory, located atop a hill near Pinney Hall, offers viewings through a 20-inch, computer-controlled Ritchey-Chretien reflector telescope.
Admission is free and the public is invited. Limited parking is provided adjacent to the observatory, with additional parking available on University Boulevard.
Planetarium shows are appropriate for adults and older children, and will be canceled only in the event of hazardous road conditions or severe weather that would pose a safety risk. The viewing period will not be offered during public nights when cloud cover prevents sky observations. For updates to confirm plans for a scheduled public night, call (203) 837-8672 on the day of the event.
Following is the schedule of WCSU Planetarium and Observatory public nights, with the most prominent visible objects listed in the order of their celestial appearance during the viewing period for the evening:
- Saturday, March 10: The planetarium show will start at 6 p.m., with sky observation following from 7 to 9 p.m. Visible objects will include the Orion Nebula and star clusters in the Auriga constellation.
- Saturday, March 24: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the first quarter moon, the Gamma Leonis binary star system and the Beehive star cluster.
- Saturday, April 7: The planetarium show will start at 7:30 p.m., with sky observation following from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Visible objects will include Gamma Leonis, the stars Mizar and Alcor, and galaxies in the Leo and Virgo constellations.
- Saturday, April 21: The planetarium show will start at 7:30 p.m., with sky observation following from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Visible objects will include the moon near first quarter, Mizar and Alcor.
- Saturday, May 5: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Mizar and Alcor, the M15 globular star cluster and Jupiter.
- Monday, May 21: Sky observation will be offered from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the first quarter moon and Jupiter.