Frequently Asked Questions:
• Will telescopes be set up tonight for public observing?
Check twitter.com/lfop on a Tuesday afternoon to see if we will have telescopes set up that evening. Someone will make the call and tweet it before 5pm. If you see a lot of blue bars on the Clear Sky Clock to the left, it will likely be clear and we will have the telescopes set up at dusk.
Please do not attempt to visit the observatory on evenings that are not Tuesday nights, because the facility is used for Yale astronomy classes on other nights.
• I heard there will be a blue moon (or some other celestial event) on such-and-such date. Will the observatory have a special event for this?
We will post details about special events on our public events calendar. There are a lot of astronomical events that get mentioned on the news that are not best observed at an observatory. For example, annual meteor showers like the Perseids (on August 11) and the Leonids (November 17) are best observed in a place where the sky is dark after midnight. Looking through a telescope doesn't help you view a meteor shower.
We are likely to have special events for lunar or solar eclipses, unusual conjunctions (like the Transit of Venus in June 2012), bright comets, etc. In other words, we are likely to have a special event for celestial events that happen at a specific time and are best viewed through a telescope.
• Can you teach me how to use my telescope? Or suggest what telescope I should buy?
You are more than welcome to ask us questions about telescopes at our Tuesday public night, but in general we can't do one-on-one training (at some point we may do a general-interest class on how to use a telescope). You might be interested in contacting the local amateur astronomy club, the Astronomical Society of New Haven, whose members know a lot about small telescopes.
If you are a member of the Yale community and you are interested in telescopes, you might consider signing up to audit Astronomy 155, a lab course for non-science majors in observational astronomy which uses the telescopes at LFOP for projects.
• Can I reserve the planetarium or observatory for a private event?
Yes. We have rented out the facility in the past for weddings, birthday parties, non-profit fundraisers, etc. Clients who want to rent our space for events must arrange for event insurance, and the events must fit around our on-going education and outreach activities. To get the details about renting the observatory and planetarium for a private event, please fill out the Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium Facility Request Form.
• I'm a Yale student or part of a Yale undergraduate group/college/class, can I/we visit or use the observatory or planetarium for a project?
Very probably. You should contact the observatory director, Dr. Michael Faison (michael.faison @ yale . edu) to talk about the details.
• Do you have internships for high school or middle school students?
We don't have any jobs that are appropriate for middle school or high school students, but you are welcome to come to public night and ask questions, and we may be able to use your help as a volunteer! If you are very interested in astronomy and astrophysics, you might consider applying to the Yale Summer Program in Astrophysics, a summer enrichment program for seniors that is hosted at the observatory.