DANBURY, CT - Western Connecticut State University will host planetarium shows and public sky viewings beginning in February and continuing into May at the planetarium and observatory on the university’s Westside campus, 47 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The events are free and the public is invited. Donations are accepted in the planetarium and in the hyperbolic funnel (“black hole”) in the lobby. All viewings take place on Saturday evenings. Parking is limited atop the hill where the facility stands, but more is available on University Boulevard.
On February 9 and March 9, objects expected to be visible are Jupiter and the Orion Nebula. On Feb. 23, Jupiter and the waxing gibbous moon will be observed. The waxing gibbous moon will again be viewed on March 23. Jupiter can be seen April 6 and April 20, with the waxing gibbous moon and Saturn also viewable on April 20. Saturn, Mizar and Alcor can be viewed on May 4 and the first quarter moon and Saturn can be seen on May 18.
Feb. 9: Planetarium Show 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sky Viewing 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Feb. 23: Planetarium Show 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sky Viewing 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
March 9: Planetarium Show 6 to 7 p.m., Sky Viewing 7 to 9 p.m.
March 23: Planetarium Show 7 to 8 p.m., Sky Viewing 8 to 10 p.m.
April 6: Planetarium Show 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sky Viewing 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
April 20: Planetarium Show 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sky Viewing 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
May 4: Planetarium Show 8 to 9 p.m., Sky Viewing 9 to 11 p.m.
May 18: Planetarium Show 8 to 9 p.m., Sky Viewing 9 to 11 p.m.
The observatory houses a 20-inch f/8.1 Ritchey-Chretien reflecting telescope that is used for public observing and astronomy research by WCSU students and faculty. It has a German-type equatorial mounting and a computer-controlled pointing and tracking system.
Sky viewings are weather dependant and may be canceled due to cloudy weather or precipitation. Planetarium shows will take place regardless of sky viewing cancelations. In the case of hazardous driving conditions, call (203) 837-8672 the day of the event to check for updates.
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