Yes. When a public night is scheduled, anyone is welcome to visit. Check our event calendar to see when public events are scheduled. In general, most of our public events take place on Wednesdays about an hour after sunset during the Spring and Fall semesters.
Yes, and they usually have a great time!
No, visits are free. We do, however, accept donations.
The new observatory is on the 5th - 7th floors of the science center, located at 24 Park Ave., Bridgewater, MA 02325. It is marked building 17 on the campus map.
You should park in the Chapel Lot, which is marked lot I on the campus map.
There is a set of doors facing the Chapel Lot on the side of the building. You may enter there, then follow the long hallway to the large open space called the atrium.
Walk toward the center of the building, where there is a large open space (the atrium). There will be two elevators on one wall. You can take the right-hand one all the way up to the 5th floor, and you're there. The left-hand one, however, will only take you as far as the 4th floor. If you get this one, you can get out at the 4th floor, and press the up button to call the right-hand elevator, or you can go around the corner to the elevators' right and open the first door on your right (it's red). Take the staircase up until there is an opening, and go straight through it. Then you're there! Alternatively, you can take the main staircase to the 4th floor, then go around the balcony to the first door on your right and take the staircase in there to the 5th floor.
Yes. To schedule a private viewing, you should have a group of at least 15 people. We ask this because these events are run by Bridgewater students and faculty, and it isn't practical for us to schedule extra events for individuals or single families. If you are interested in scheduling a private viewing, but don't think you can get 15 people, ask your friends and neighbors - you might be surprised how many people are interested! We also ask that you give us an approximate headcount, so we know in advance how many staff members we will need. (Note: We make an exception on the 15-person minimum for photography clubs).
To schedule a private viewing, email email@example.com or call 508-531-2093.
We have handled over 200 people in one night. About 125 people are able to fit on our viewing floor at once.
We have several different kinds. We have 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrains, an 8-inch Dobsonian, two TeleVue refractors (4 and 5 inches), and a 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain. The 14-inch telescope is in the dome. See our equipment page for pictures or more information.
It means the telescope is 8 inches wide (it's longer than that). It's like having an eye that is 8 inches wide - you can collect more light with it.
Lots, and it changes throughout the year. Right now, Saturn and Mars are visible, and the Moon may be visible depending on the time of month. In the Fall, we wil be able to see Messier 13, The Ring Nebula, Mizar and Alcor, and Alberio, among other things. Our staff are familiar with the constellations and stars, and can give you a tour of the night sky.
It's different for every object. Saturn and its rings, M13, the Moon, and The Orion Nebula are usually extremely clear. Mars can show some surface markings depending on how crisp the night sky is. Jupiter, when visible, can show a lot of detail in the cloud formations, and we can even see four of its moons. Galaxies, like Andromeda, are visible, but it can be very tough to pick out their arms through an eyepiece.
Yes, but we usually don't look for them. Uranus and Neptune are far enough away that they look like blue dots. Pluto is so small, you could be looking right at it and it would just look like a star.
Yes, but we have technical difficulties to work out.
The telescope in the dome is intended for student research - it will usually not even have an eyepiece in! Instead, it will have a camera hooked up to it. However, we have a special camera called a Mallincam that will let us put video from the big telescope on the TV in the observatory hallway, so even if a student is doing research you can take a peek at what the telescope is looking at.
Yes, it rotates and a section of it opens up to give us a view of the sky.
Last Modified: September 4, 2012