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College Observatory Status – Summer 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Physics Department at Middlebury College is performing upgrades at the College Observatory and will not be having Open House nights this summer.

Over the years, Open House nights at the Observatory have been popular events on the Middlebury campus during the summers as the Observatory has opened its doors to the College community and the public to share the wonders of the night skies.

Thanks to generous support from the Michele and David Mittelman (’76) Family Foundation, the Observatory will be undergoing substantial renovations and modernizations that represent a fundamental commitment to the long-term future of the Observatory, both for curricular and research uses, as well as for outreach. These improvements to the Observatory will help ensure that Middlebury students, College community members, schoolchildren, and the public will continue to be able to explore the universe on the Middlebury campus under dark Vermont skies.

The current expectation is that the Observatory will again be operational in the fall after completion of the upgrades.

Open House Nights at the College Observatory – Spring 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Physics Department at Middlebury College will again host Open House nights at the College Observatory this spring. The observatory, located atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall, will be open to the public for viewing the heavens on Friday evenings, May 1 and May 8, from 9:00 PM until 10:30 PM, provided the skies are mostly clear.

Jupiter and Venus will be in the evening sky on both of these dates, while the moon will be visible only on the first of these two evenings. Also visible through our telescopes will be a number of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae. There is no set program for the Open House nights; the public is invited at any time between 9:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

All observatory public nights are free and open to the public, but will take place only if the sky is at least mostly clear. If the weather appears uncertain, visitors may call the observatory at 443-2266 or visit the observatory web site after 7:00 PM on the evening of the Open House for a status report. More information can also be found at go/observatory .

Seeing the Unseen

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Seeing the Unseen
In honor of Professor Frank Winkler
on his retirement

Professor, friend, our class’s true
astronomer, whom a blackboard can’t
erase. Who’s taken us beyond the seen,

and unseen stars. Where space is
anybody’s second guess. Where,
it seems, we’re more and less

and everything that matters.
Who uses up three boards to write
love’s infinite sign, the feeling

today in your, in our last class,
that can’t be canceled out, that
remains a constant one.

Not by chance, your name, Frank
Winkler, has us winking at
the stars, those burning gases

it takes more than this semester
to reach us. Years from now,
maybe from another galaxy,

one of us will look back to earth—
you taught us we’re made up
of everything there is

(Did I get that right on the test?)
To look back and see the comet’s
trace of you jetting across

Bi-Centennial Hall’s grand
space. See you dropping
that bowling ball, near my

roommate’s, First Year foot,
to show us the principle by which
we’ve come to be love’s

first gravity. So, Professor,
at the end of this hour, we can
stand, we can fall back to Earth.

Gary Margolis ‘67
Executive Director, Emeritus,
College Mental Health Services
Associate Professor (part-time)
English and American Literatures