VVO Refractor Restoration!

We are pleased to announce that the historic Van Vleck Observatory 20″ Alvan Clark refractor is undergoing an extensive restoration project in anticipation of the Centennial of VVO, which we will be celebrating throughout the 2015-16 academic year. Stay tuned for more details about that soon.

For a description of the restoration, see the links below. The best way to keep up to date is to follow us on twitter: @WesAstro. We’re posting pictures and frequent updates. We’re also posting daily time-lapse videos of the restoration to our YouTube channel.

Wesleyan News article about the restoration.

Hartford Courant article on the restoration.

Sturm Lecture Events

Every year, the Astronomy Department is lucky enough to host a prestigious member of the astronomical community for a day or two of astronomical events. The events are centered around a public lecture which draws hundreds of attendees each year. This year, we are thrilled to welcome Professor Meg Urry from Yale and President-elect of the American Astronomical Society. You can read a bit more about her public talk at the Sturm Lecture page. There will be multiple opportunities to hear Professor Urry speak over the next couple of days, and we hope you will join us for some (or all!) of them.

Wednesday, 4/2, 4pm, in Exley 058
WesWIS/Astro talk: “Women in Science: Why so Few?”
Click for Event Details

Wednesday, 4/2, 8pm in CFA Hall
Sturm Lecture: “Black Holes, Galaxies, and the Evolution of the Universe”
Click for Event Details

Thursday, 4/3, 12pm in Woodhead Lounge
The Center for Faculty Career Development will host a conversation with Prof. Urry about inclusive pedagogy in the sciences. This event is open to faculty, post-docs, and grad students.
Email: cfcd@wes for details.

Thursday, 4/3, 4pm in VVO 110
Astro Colloquium: “The Co-Evolution of Black Holes and Galaxies over Cosmic Time”
Click for Event Details

Re-aluminizing the 24″ Perkin Telescope Mirror

Periodically, telescopes need to have their mirrors cleaned and coated with a new layer of shiny aluminum. Here are some photos of the removal of the 24″ mirror and preparation to ship it off for re-aluminizing on May 9th, 2013.

IMG_2084 The telescope backplane with all instruments removed.

IMG_2086 Astronomy professor Seth Redfield and Bruce Strickland from the Wes science machine shop move the lift into place for lowering the mirror cell.

IMG_2088 Dave Strickland from the science machine shop aligns the lift. The mirror cell rests on metal cylinders as it is lowered from the telescope.

IMG_2090 Dave Strickland removes the central tube from the 24″ mirror cell.

IMG_2095 The mirror cell rests on blocks as we prepare to remove the mirror itself.

IMG_2097 The 24″ mirror. As you can see, the surface looks a bit dirty.

IMG_2099 One last look at the mirror before we seal it in its box.

Astronomy Talk: The Beauty of the Universe as Revealed by Hubble, October 25th at 8pm

The Astronomy Department and the Center for the Arts are pleased to sponsor a special talk by Lisa Frattare (G ’96) of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. Her talk is entitled “The Beauty of the Universe as Revealed by Hubble”. Lisa Frattare has been a member of the Hubble Heritage Project since … Read moreAstronomy Talk: The Beauty of the Universe as Revealed by Hubble, October 25th at 8pm

Transit of Venus! June 5th, viewing starts at 5:30pm EDT

The astronomy department will have an open house for the transit of Venus, happening on Tuesday, June 5th.  The transit begins just after 6pm EDT and the Sun will set while the transit is still going on.  If the weather is clear, we will set up telescopes for safe viewing of the transit.  If it’s … Read moreTransit of Venus! June 5th, viewing starts at 5:30pm EDT

Solar Observing Today, 3/27, until 4pm

Come see the Sun today, March 27, in front of Usdan!

Then join us at 8pm in the Daniel Family Common (3rd floor of Usdan) for the Sturm Lecture by Dr. Alan Title, Director and Senior Fellow of Advanced Technology Center, Lockheed Martin, and Professor of Physics, Stanford University.  His talk is entitled “Making the Invisible Sun Visible”.  Following his talk, we will observe other celestial objects through the 16″ and 20″ telescopes at Van Vleck Observatory.  As with all events hosted by the Astronomy Department, this event is free of charge and open to the public.

Solar Viewing for the Sturm Lecture

In honor of this year’s Sturm Lecture, we will be observing the Sun all day on the lawn outside Usdan center on 3/27 (or 3/26 if the weather doesn’t look great for 3/27).  We will observe at visible wavelengths with our 10″ telescope and with our new Coronado H-alpha telescope, as well as our solar spectrograph.  Students and faculty from the Astronomy Department will be on hand to answer your questions about the Sun.

Then join us at 8pm on 3/27 in the Daniel Family Common (3rd floor of Usdan) for the Sturm Lecture by Dr. Alan Title, Director and Senior Fellow of Advanced Technology Center, Lockheed Martin, and Professor of Physics, Stanford University.  His talk is entitled “Making the Invisible Sun Visible”.  Following his talk, we will observe other celestial objects through the 16″ and 20″ telescopes at Van Vleck Observatory.  As with all events hosted by the Astronomy Department, this event is free of charge and open to the public.