If the skies are clear stargazers are in for a treat at the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory’s observing nights.
Once a month, until the beginning of December, the U of C research facility opens its doors to the public. With the help of a research astronomer from the department of physics and astronomy, stargazers can view the night sky through one of four high-powered research telescopes. The telescopes are optical, which means it can see the same light that a human eye can, so clear viewing is dependent on clear skies. The RAO website has a link to a sky weather camera that provides real time views of the sky. Check the camera before venturing out to make sure the skies look clear. Dress warmly.
Three Things to Gaze At This Year
1. Arrive early and look for Venus, which will be clearly visible low along the western horizon at sunset.
2. During the months of October, November and December, the comet ISON is expected to put on an impressive show. Look for it’s bright green tail in the northern sky at sunset especially towards the end of November and into December.
3. In December look for Jupiter in the early evening sky. The second brightest planet, next to Venus, Jupiter rises over the northeast horizon.
Public observing nights run Oct. 3, Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 from 7 p.m. Suggested $5 donation. The RAO is 15-minute drive south from Calgary. Visit ucalgary.ca/rao for directions.