The fall semester at UR has begun, and so we turn all use of the Mees Observatory over to professors and students. We have just concluded a full season of Virtual Tours of the Observatory, with 13 tours conducted over the summer. Thank you to everyone who joined us to hear talks on astronomy topics and to view Deep Sky objects through the remote operation of the Observatory! Double thanks to the tour guides (UR students and local amateur astronomers) who led these tours, using tools and processes that were new to all of us this season. UR restrictions and protocols, aimed at keeping everyone safe, precluded in-person visits this year.
Our virtual tours were conducted using the fully remote operation capabilities for the Observatory that have been enabled over the past year. The installation of this major upgrade opens up exciting new possibilities for research, student labs and public observing, including ADA compliance. Held on Zoom, this summer's visits included a virtual walk-around of the magnificent Observatory grounds, Gannett House and the Observatory and telescope, in addition to images from the 24” reflecting telescope through the use of its CCD camera, providing views that are the same field of view as our eyepiece but with far superior sensitivity and resolution.
As of this date, the plans for next season are TBD, and will depend on the state of the pandemic and on UR's direction for safe use of the Mees Observatory (and all UR facilities) as we approach the summer tours season.
Whether in person or virtually, tours will begin early June. Reservations will be required. Check back on April 15 to begin placing your reservations.
Thank you for your continued interest in Mees Observatory Summer Tours!
For additional information about the protocols in place at Mees Observatory due to COVID-19, go to http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~dmw/Mees/Mees_COVID-19_protocol.pdf
To contact the Mees Observatory Summer Tours Director Carol Latta, email her at email@example.com
Information about tours, as offered in non-pandemic years, follows:
University of Rochester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy offers free public tours of Mees Observatory (in the beautiful Bristol Hills) on selected Friday and Saturday evenings (and an occasional weeknight) during June, July and August. Tour guides for these events are UR undergraduate and graduate students, as well as members of Rochester’s astronomy club, the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science, all of whom love sharing their astronomy knowledge and expertise.
Several types of tours are offered, including tours specifically geared for children. All tours begin at 8PM with a presentation in Gannett House on astronomy-related topics, appropriate to the specific tour (Regular, Kids’, Moon). Guests are then invited on a tour of the observatory and its 24” reflecting telescope, and offered observing of Solar System and Deep Sky objects, if sky conditions allow. On clear nights, the skies at Mees Observatory are exceptionally good for telescope observing. Tours typically wrap up by 11PM or so.
Reservation requests are limited to 6 people; groups larger than that can request an exception by contacting Tours Director Carol Latta at firstname.lastname@example.org Reservation requests for Kids’ Tours must include children.
We typically receive many more requests than we are able to accommodate; so it is vital that those with reservations reconfirm them a week prior to their tour, and give adequate notice of cancellation so that waitlisted guests can be invited to join the tour.
The address of Mees Observatory is:
C. E. Kenneth Mees Observatory, 6604 East Gannett Hill Road, Naples NY 14512