The primary telescope used in the observatory atop the pier is the new 0.8m (~32″) Ritchey-Chretien telescope. There is a 12 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope used on the patio that provides good views of the sky as well. We still possess the 6″ refractor originally built by GMU students in 1975 (it is on display in the glass alcove).

Please note that the observing session will be canceled if the sky is more than half overcast one hour before the session is scheduled to begin, or if it is too windy (>30mph) to open the observatory dome. If in doubt, check weather forecast here or here , and check the Clear Sky Chart for the area and check back on this webpage before scheduled observing sessions.

The spring schedule for observing is available HERE.

NOTE: The observatory deck has very rough flooring. Guests are advised to WEAR ONLY CLOSED TOED SHOES. NO SANDALS or other open toed shoes.

The location of the observing sessions is the observatory at Research 1. Access to the observatory is limited. Guests will be met in Research 1 lobby by the main elevators. If you are late, you can stay by the elevators and someone will meet you, after you call the observatory at 703-993-9558 and have been acknowledged by observatory personnel. The observing sessions will last approximately 1.5 hours weather permitting.


Remember: Check here about 1 hour before coming to Research Hall in the event of clouds/rain/other reasons for cancellation.

George Mason Observatory’s ‘Evenings Under the Stars’ series (where you’ll also get to look at awesome galaxies, stars, planets and more through our 0.8 meter telescope!) is back for Fall 2013!  The dates for all Nine events are on the google calendar and there will be posts with information about each session and talk as its date approaches.  As always the events are free and everyone is invited!

Here’s the basic schedule with some extra talk details about the first 2 talks.  Click on the title of this post to access the full schedule. Information on future talks will be added soon:

  • Monday 26 August 2013: Dr. Harold Geller will speak about the expectations associated with future visits of extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations in a talk titled How will the Kanamits serve mankind? Shall we expect extraterrestrial altruism or extraterrestrial malevolence? Talk at 8 PM. Same talk at 8:45PM   Observing starts at 8:30PM until 10PM
  • Monday 9 September 2013: Darryl Wilson will talk about Observing Saturn. 1st talk at 8PM, same talk at 8:45PM, observing starts at 8:30PM until 10PM
  • Monday 23 September 2013: Information TBA
  • Monday 7 October 2013: Information TBA
  • Monday 21 October 2013: Information TBA
  • Monday 4 November 2013: Information TBA
  • Monday 18 November 2013: Information TBA
  • Monday 2 December 2013: Information TBA
  • Monday 16 December 2013: Information TBA

How to get here – Directions to GMU and Research Hall here: http://eagle.gmu.edu/map/fairfax.php   Zoom in to find Research Hall next to engineering building and York River Rd.  Just keep an eye out for weather – talks and observing may be postponed to a back up date because of weather – updates will be available here – Observatory Twitter


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