Last weekend I got to check an item off of my summer bucket list. I paid a visit to Charlestown, Rhode Island’s Frosty Drew Astronomical Observatory for some stargazing! I was fortunate enough that the night I visited happened to be the clearest view of Saturn of the season!
Every Friday night in the summer, Frosty Drew opens up for free public stargazing through their powerful telescope. The observatory opens at 6 PM to the public. A young volunteer provided some sky info and answer any questions while we waited in line. Inside the observatory, an astronomer was stationed by the telescope to point things out and answer additional questions.
We pulled up after 8:30 PM and the line was already long. The observatory itself is tiny—there were only 6 or so people inside at any given time. The sky darkened as we waited in line, and volunteers pointed out Mars and Spica in the sky. A bunch of telescopes were set up on the lawn around the observatory so there were other things to look at while we waited. We got a very up-close look at the super moon from a tabletop telescope. A man who literally just came as a hobby set up a large telescope and focused it on Mars, which through his telescope looked like a glow-y ring of fire.
It was 10 PM by the time my group got to the telescope, but man was it worth the wait! I had to gasp when I saw Saturn, small and white-ish, right in view! It was tipped on its side, its rings vertical. It looked lonely, in a way, but you could distinctly make out four other objects— at least two moons: Titan and Rhea. You could make out at least one division in the rings signifying that there is more than one. I was blown away! Saturn has always been my favorite planet, and the Frosty Drew frequent-ers all agreed it’s the most exciting to see.
They were showing Saturn last week, but weather conditions and the sky vary. I’d love to make another visit before the summer is over!
Frosty Drew Observatory is located in Ninigret Park in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Visit their website for directions: frostydrew.org!
photos via FrostyDrew.org & their social media sites