Stargate Observatory Open House

  • October 12, 2013 · 6:00 PM
  • Stargate Observatory @ Camp Rotary in Wolcott Mill Metropark

It's our mostly-monthly public open house: you get to use our equipment and our volunteers' knowledge to see what's out there in the sky tonight.

We usually stay as long as the skies are clear and there are interested observers - usually around midnight, but on nice nights even later.

You don't have to stay the whole time - though we ask that you aim your headlights away from the observing field in case you have to leave early. Feel free to email us if you have any questions.

We only require a few things for your safety and enjoyment:

  • It will be getting dark around 7:30 PM, so please plan to be at the observatory earlier. Be careful with headlights on your way in, especially after sundown. Make sure to turn the dome lights off if possible, and park your car facing away from the observing field if you have running lights.
  • Please don't use white light flashlights when others are observing. Others will have flashlights, but if you'd like to bring your own, you can easily make a red-light flashlight that will help you get around in the dark and is safe for night vision. You can read ideas here.
  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted.

Other advice to help you make the most of your evening:

  • Weather, especially in Michigan, is unpredictable. We are always (some might say irrationally) hopeful, but if there's a solid chance of an extended downpour we are not likely to do any observing! If you're not sure about the weather, call Bob Berta, Riyad Matti, Marty Kunz, or Jonathan Kade to check if the open house has been canceled.
  • Observing is an outside activity, so dress accordingly - a little warmer than the temperature would indicate. Even in the summer, it can get surprisingly chilly at night. Like any other activity, the key to lasting is layers, layers, layers! In the wintertime and early spring, plan to wear at least two layers of every garment: socks, pants, and a shirt. Core temperature is important too, so pay extra attention to keeping your torso warm - an insulated vest can work wonders.
  • Importantly, the Camp Rotary grounds have full-service public restrooms, with warm running water and other modern conveniences.

If there's something specific you'd like to see, we'll do our best to make it happen. We have safe, filtered solar telescopes to look at the sun in amazing detail before it gets dark; if you're interested in seeing our local star, let us know and we'll try to make a telescope available.

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  • Carl R.

    Apologies for the over posting but have to mention Dave Bailey's descriptions & great insight on both the slides shown & on the topics of Messier's discoveries. The Yerkes slides were impressive!

    October 13, 2013

  • Carl R.

    I'm proud to say I have mailed my new membership dues for WAS & look forward to my 2nd Open House.
    Really enjoyed the last one, learned quite a lot & had fun watching the members & guests interact.
    Clear skies are predicted so far!

    2 · October 7, 2013

    • Carl R.

      Taking into consideration the overcast skies, the meeting was a huge success for me. I was helped by John Kade insofar as the two star alignment for my scope, he has an extremely good memory of the night skies.

      1 · October 13, 2013

    • Carl R.

      I meant to add that the presentations on the wall of the observatory were extremely interesting. Jon Blum & Ken Burtin provided really good depth & insight to all the great slides they showed. Nice chatting with most of the people there, especially with Riyad. We had a great sit down walk down memory lane about his good friend & member Steve Franks. All in all, a very good evening!

      1 · October 13, 2013

  • Krissy K.

    Mike and I were planning to go, but I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Already have in my calendar and planning on making next month's open house. Hope the sky continues to be clear for Ray, MI tonight.

    October 12, 2013

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