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Summer Guide: Enjoy an evening of stargazing

THE PUBLIC IS invited to see the beauties of the night sky through telescopes on top of McCardell Bicentennial Hall during four open houses this summer.

MIDDLEBURY — Do you marvel at the celestial wonders you see on television? Middlebury College’s Mittelman Observatory will give you a chance to see some of them with your own eyes this summer.

The observatory perched at the high top of McCardell Bicentennial Hall will again host stargazing open house nights this summer. These observatory events are scheduled for Wednesday evenings, June 29, July 20, July 27, and Aug. 3. A nighttime event, the telescopes will be available from 9:30 until 11 p.m., weather permitting.

Saturn will be in the evening sky on some of these dates. A variety of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae also will be visible through the observatory’s telescopes. The centerpiece of Mittelman’s gear is a 24-inch telescope in a dome, and there will also be smaller telescopes on the roof deck.

The observatory staff often provide maps of the constellations, explaining the brightness and magnitudes of the stars so easily visible up on top of Bi Hall.

When you first out onto the roof of the seven-story building it will strike you that the Vermont sky is like no other. The wonders of the crystal clear views that we have the privilege to view are multiplied at such heights. you will be able not only to count the lights on the ground far below (one night our correspondent counted only five — but the dearth of man-made distraction adds to the magic of the experience.

The solitude of watching the night ski is almost unique to Vermont; you would be unlikely to have a similar experience in cities and even in the suburbs.

Due to COVID-19 policies and best practices, not all telescopes may be open and masks may be required of attendees.

Observatory open house nights are free and open to the public. However, these events will take place only if the sky is expected to be mostly clear. Please check the Observatory web site at sites.middlebury.edu/observatory or call the observatory at 802-443-2266 after 7:30 p.m. on the evening of the event for weather status.

Additional shorter-notice, weather-optimized events may also be scheduled periodically and announced through our observatory-news e-mail list, to which one can subscribe to at this website: sites.middlebury.edu/observatory/events/email.

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