Public Viewing Night
at The Wilderness Center

Public viewing night with planetarium show
is now on rain or starshine!

Observatory with Keller 16 Cassegrain.4 inch Takahashi
Live picture of moon with video camera and LX200.Details in galaxy M31 displayed in the Planetarium dome, Scope and camera are in the Observatory

Public Viewing Nights are held on the first Friday of each month at The Wilderness Center come rain or starshine. We now always start with a planetarium show. It will be about the current night sky. This will help visitors orientate themselves prior to going out and seeing the stars themselfs. The show will start at 8:00pm year round. If it is clear we will have the observatory open and view through the Centers' scopes and we will set up additional telescopes in the lower parking lot as well. A Stellacam EX integrating video camera and TV monitor is available to display live solar, planetary and deep sky images from the Resetar telescope. This is an excellent educational tool to point out features to large groups. It also allows viewing of objects on the TV monitor in the observatory and projected in the Planetarium dome for those with disabilities that interfere with their ability to see images through a telescope eyepiece. If it is cloudy, then instead of observing, a short video will be displayed in the observatory of objects taken through the centers scopes.  If you are planning to bring a large group or individuals with physical disabilities contact Barb Vitcosky, TWC Astronomy Club Liaison, at The Wilderness Center. (See below for contact information.)

Our public viewing nights are informal.  There is no set program.  Guests come and go at anytime through the night. We usually have several telescopes operated by different folks.  Our astronomers enjoy talking about the sky and about their telescopes. They will typically move their instruments around to different objects throughout the evening.  Even if you have seen the moon or Jupiter before in another scope, try it again. Odds are that it will look different with a different telescope and eyepiece.

What to expect at a public viewing night.

If it is dark out when you arrive, turn your headlights out as you turn into the parking lot. Parking lights are usually OK. Maintaining night vision is important when seeing faint objects through a telescope. If you have a dome light please turn it off before opening the door. If you can't turn off dome lights or have daytime running lights please park close to the entrance. Flashlights should be red. Red light will not ruin your night vision.

The telescopes are set up in the observatory and in the middle parking lot. When you walk up to an astronomer, feel free to ask what the telescope is pointed at and ask to look through the telescope. The astronomer will tell you about the object and point out where the eyepiece is for their particular scope. Feel free to ask any other astronomy related questions and go from one telescope to another.

Typical objects that can be seen through a telescope are the moon, planets, nebulas, open clusters, globular clusters, galaxies and multiple star systems. Try to see one of each before you leave.

Don't touch or move the scope. This will move the object out of the field of view and may damage a telescope that is motor driven.

The telescope shouldn't need to be refocused. Look at the object for a while and let your eye soak up more detail. Stars (if any) should be point like. The telescope should be focused for 20-20 vision. Eyeglass wearers should be OK if you wear your eyeglasses. If you must refocus, ask first. Focus knobs/buttons are different for each telescope.

Dress appropriately for the weather. It gets colder at night and you won't be moving much to generate heat. Bring something extra just in case. That extra sweater or blanket is usually needed.

Bring bug spray during mosquito season.

Hope to see you there!
Live picture of moon with video camera and LX200

The Wilderness Center
Alabama Ave.
P.O. Box 202
Wilmot, OH 44689
(877) 359-5235 (Ohio only)
(330) 359-5235 (Outside Ohio)

Barb Vitcosky, ( TWC Astronomy Club Liaison

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Last updated June 18, 2012 by Bill Castro