HRPO houses a 50-cm reflector, a 40-cm reflector and several smaller telescopes to bring the majesty of the night sky to the public. Trained operators, sharing duties via a rotating roster, work throughout the year in shifts. Each operator has a pre-planned list of objects to highlight. However, requests will be taken if there is time and if all present have viewed the previous target.
The shorter viewing session of the week takes place most Fridays after a lecture aimed at a general adult audience.
Most Saturday nights have the longer sessions. Saturday nights are the best time to bring children under eleven, who may be interested in looking through the scopes but not necessarily in sitting for a lecture.
Most months Plus Night will occur on a chosen Saturday. During Plus nights sky viewing starts a half-hour earlier (at 7:00 pm), and extra features are available to the public…
*The well-known marshmallow roast commences at the campfire ring behind the building, lasting at least one hour and ending no later than 9:30 pm. (The campfire, like the sky viewing, is weather-dependent.)
*Four to eight of HRPO’s collection of over forty physical science demonstrations will be on hand to perplex and amaze. Which demos will it be?
*An unaided eye sky tour takes place, showing the public major features of the sky for that month. The tour takes place at 8:00 pm during Standard Time, and at 9:00 pm during Daylight Time.
*Filters are inserted into the viewing mechanisms, to show patrons “hidden” details of the Moon, Mars♂ and Jupiter♃ (when they are available).
*Reveal your age, and be shown any “birth stars” in the sky at that time.
The 2019 Plus Night nights are…
30 March (a segue from NanoDays)
In May, Plus Night is preempted by International Astronomy Day.
In June, Plus Night is preempted by ARRL Field Day.
In July, Plus Night is preempted by the Apollo 11 Fiftieth Anniversary Party.
28 September (Theme: ‘Space Junk!’)
In October, Plus Night is preempted by the Spooky Spectrum.
No Plus Night is needed in December due to the 2020 Preview Party.
Lunar Viewing Versus Deep Sky Viewing
To decide whether to come when the Moon is available (to see exquisite detail on the lunar surface), or when the Moon is relatively low or below the horizon (to focus on deep-sky treats such as globular clusters and nebulae), go to the Calendar of Events and read the description for any particular “Evening Sky Viewing.” The summary will give the illumination and maximum altitude of the Moon.
The heading of this page links to a BRAS Forum thread that announces the likelihood of viewing during the upcoming public session.
When HRPO has scheduled nighttime viewing, red lights can be seen at the pavilion between Highland Road and the main building. If those red lights are not on during a nighttime period, HRPO is not open to the public (either because there was no planned event or because the event was shortened or canceled).
Updated by Frederick J. Barnett on Monday, September 23, 2019, 12:27 PM.