Saturday Night Telescope Viewing
We offer free telescope viewing on Saturday nights from dark till about 10 p.m. when weather in downtown Rochester is favorable and volunteer telescope operators are available.
Before coming, please call the planetarium box office after 7:30 p.m. to confirm that the telescope is open: 585.697.1945.
Climb 60 steps at the back of the planetarium to view the sky through telescopes operated by knowledgeable volunteers from the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science (ASRAS), the leading local astronomy club.
Our viewing facilities have recently been upgraded! The main mirror on the 12.5-inch reflecting telescope has been re-aluminized (the shiny surface was re-coated to improve the image you see) with a gift from RMSC Trustee Dr. John Bruning.
A new 11-inch computer-guided Celestron CPC1100 telescope on a Pier-Tech adjustable pier was added in 2014 with gifts from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation and the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation.
For the first time in decades, the concrete observation deck and telescope housing were cleaned and painted with weatherproof coatings in 2014 thanks to many hours of volunteer labor by members of ASRAS.
For more about telescope viewing and amateur astronomy, attend a meeting of the astronomy club. This exceptionally friendly group welcomes beginners. Visit them at www.rochesterastronomy.org.
The Volunteers Behind the Strasenburgh Planetarium Telescope
Every Saturday night, as many as 100 people come to view the heavens through a telescope at the Strasenburgh Planetarium, thanks to volunteers from our leading local astronomy club: the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science (ASRAS).
This active, friendly group has facilitated free telescope viewing at RMSC since the early 1960s. Most viewing today takes place at the top of a flight of 60 steps at the back of the Planetarium, the permanent home of a 12.5-inch-diameter reflecting telescope operated by ASRAS members. Club members often add telescopes of their own, either up on the observing deck or down at ground level.
Even though city lights surround the Planetarium, the moon, planets, and bright star clusters are still visible.
“A real telescope is important so you can see these sites for yourself,” says Jim Seidewand, ASRAS director of telescope activities at the Planetarium. “If you had the chance, which would you rather do — see the Grand Canyon in person or look at pictures on a computer monitor?”
ASRAS members help us out in the daytime too, presenting activities and information in the Planetarium lobby or the Museum.
ASRAS welcomes new members of all ages and experience levels. Monthly meetings take place at RIT or at the club’s dark-sky observing site, the Farash Center for Observational Astronomy in Ionia, New York.