Now that the Buffalo Museum of Science has restored its rooftop telescope and reopened its observatory, the public has a chance to use it. Beginning this week, scheduled viewing sessions may be arranged, weather permitting, by reservation.
Those sessions will be held primarily on Wednesday evenings, from 9 to 11 p.m. Marisa Wigglesworth, president and CEO of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, explained that because weather plays a factor in viewing, reservations will be taken beginning Wednesday mornings.
She also advises people not to let the city lights fool you. There are plenty of celestial objects that may be enjoyed from atop the Buffalo Museum of Science.
"I am a novice viewer of the skies and had some wonderful sightings last week working with our astronomer," she said. "That said, certainly being here where there is ambient light coming up from our wonderful city does limit the capacity a little bit. But I think for any of our guests, they're still going to have really wonderful experiences."
Tim Collins agrees. Collins, whose work also includes roles with the Whitworth Ferguson (Buffalo State College) and Williamsville North High School planetariums, recently joined the Buffalo Museum of Scicence as an astronomer for the Kellogg Observatory. He says those who have never before had the opportunity to look through a larger telescope such as the museum's eight-inch Lundin refractor will have a feeling of awe. Even more expreienced astronomers such as Collins may enjoy a thrill.
"When I looked at Jupiter the other night, it is something I've only seen once before in a large telescope," he said. "My face was full of it all weekend. I'm sure everyone else's faces will be delighted as well."
Jupiter is one of several planets that will make for good viewing this summer. Collins says Venus and Saturn are also in good positions this season and Mars is slowing moving into evening viewing from early morning visibility in the spring. Uranus and Neptune will become viewable in the fall, Collins added.
"As autumn and early winter come around, Uranus and Neptune will be on our schedule of things," he said.