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Margaret M. Jacoby Observatory brings back public nights

Kaicie Boeglin


Photo via Kaicie Boeglin

WARWICK, R.I. The Margaret M. Jacoby Observatory located on the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) Warwick Knight campus hosts public open nights every Wednesday. These public open nights are for lovers of the galaxy and specters of space to congregate and discover the cosmos. Due to the impending pandemic, public open nights had been on hold from March 2020 until late September. Public open nights are encouraged for all college students and the outer public, rather than only CCRI students.

CCRI Astronomy professor Brendan Britton facilitates these open nights on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; however, the observatory will not be open on rainy or cloudy nights. Professor Britton updates the Observatory's website every Wednesday morning to state whether or not the observatory will be open that evening.

Visitors are able to take a peek through an electronic Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. A Meade LX-200 ACF 16in refractor telescope to be exact. Powered by Professor Britton's computer, this telescope can travel to exact coordinates to show individuals the brightest stars and constellations in the sky each week. Although there is not a guarantee to see the same things every week, individuals will also experience seeing various planets and moons. One week you may see Earth's moon and the following week possibly one of Saturn's 82 moons. This past week individuals had the chance to see various star clusters and nebulae, the full moon, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn's rings.

Visitors can always give suggestions as to what to look at each week. Based upon magnitude and time, if a suggestion can be seen it will be seen. The Meade LX-200 ACF can view magnitudes as low as 12. This telescope also allows visitors to see the physical difference in coloration of the stars.

Students interested in math, psychics and astronomy are strongly recommended to visit the observatory. Families with future NASA employees or children interested in space are encouraged to visit. The Margaret M. Jacoby Observatory is an exploratory experience for all that want to see beyond our world. The exact location is 400 East Ave. Warwick; up the front entrance of CCRI and down the side road on the right hand side before the rotary.



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