Last night we went to the Schommer Astronomical Observatory at Rutgers University. On the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month the observatory is open to the public.
The telescope there is a 20-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector. Unfortunately, according to the guy running the session (a grad student named Libby), someone broke the focusing controls a week or two ago, so it was a little disappointing.
Still, it’s the largest scope I’ve ever looked through. We checked out Saturn, Mars, Betelgeuse and Sirius. I also saw my first 2 Messier objects, M42 (the Orion Nebula) and M45 (the Pleiades). Just 108 (or 107 depending on who you ask) to go!
Even with the focusing problems, it was a fun night out. Libby was informative, teaching us some star hopping with his green laser pointer as well as explaining what we were seeing through the scope. I will go to another session in April when Jupiter is up (if not before).