HRPO houses a 50-cm reflector, a 40-cm reflector and over a dozen 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. Additionally, many pertinent celestial targets have guaranteed viewing times.
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 twelve, who may be interested in looking through the scopes but not necessarily in sitting for a lecture.
(Updated November 18)
Plus Nights occur on Saturday of months which do not have a major Saturday event. During Plus nights sky viewing starts at 7:00 pm and extra features are included…
*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. (As with sky viewing, the fire is weather-dependent.)
*Six to eight of HRPO’s collection of over fifty 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 season. This is followed by a low-magnification tour of the Moon if the Moon is up. 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♃, and nebulae (when they are available).
*Reveal your age to discover any of your birth stars.
2022 Plus Nights Themes
15 January (“Beginnings and Endings”)
12 February (“Love is in the Air”)
12 March (“Pi in the Sky”)
2 April (“Nano Extension”)
No Plus Night in May due to International Astronomy Day.
No Plus Night in June due to A.R.R.L. Field Day.
16 July (“Demonstration Overload”)
13 August (“The Ringed Beauty”)
10 September (“The Icy Outposts”)
No Plus Night in October due to the Spooky Spectrum.
19 November (“The New Quarter-Century”)
No Plus Night in December due to the 2023 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 guide 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 Friday, November 18, 2022, 11:13 AM.