; Rutgers Astronomy: Serin Observatory Public Nights

Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


In order to slow the spreading of the coronavirus, we will not be open until further notice.

Next Public Open Night (weather permitting)

Thursday, 28 January 2021, 08:00 p.m. EST to 10:00 p.m. EST

Status (as of 29 January 2021, 04:15 a.m. EST): In order to slow the spreading of the coronavirus, we will not be open.

If you have any questions about the public open nights, please call 732-735-5483 and leave a voice message. Your call will be returned.

For general information, please call 848-445-8973 or 848-445-8785 (08:30 a.m. to 04:30 p.m.).

Public Observing at the Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory

Members of the Rutgers University community and the general public are invited to observe the night sky through the 20-inch optical telescope of the Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month, weather permitting. The observatory is open for two hours starting at 8:30 p.m. (October through March) or starting about one hour after sunset (April through September, when it is not yet dark at 8:30 p.m.).

Observing will be canceled for that night if the skies are cloudy at the beginning of the observing session. Please check this web-site for the most up-to-date information.

Naked-eye visibility of satellites from the Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory may be found at the Heavens-Above Main Page .


The Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory is located in the dome on the roof of the Serin Physics Laboratories on the corner of Frelinghuysen Road and Allison Road on the Busch Campus of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Our address is 136 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ and directions to our building are available. The public can park in lot 53 (between the building and the street) or lot 53A (about one block east on the other side of Frelinghuysen Road), but should obtain an electronic permit beforehand. To obtain the permit, follow this link. Rutgers faculty, staff, and students do not need to obtain an additional permit, but should only park in lots allowed by their existing parking permits (in most cases, this does NOT include lot 53). Enter the doors on the west end of the building (facing Allison Road) and take the stairs (left or right sides of the lobby) or the elevator (left side of the lobby) to the fourth floor.

Scientific Highlights

Transit of Venus -- June 05, 2012
Image of Sun showing a dot which is Venus

This image was taken at 08:03 p.m. EDT through a narrow gap in the clouds during the only few minutes that the transit was visible at the Schommer Observatory. The dark band in the lower-left corner of the image is the roof of the Pharmacy Building. The edge of the silhouette of Venus is ragged because of blurring by the Earth's atmosphere -- the Sun was only 3.3 degrees above the horizon. The 20-inch telescope was stopped down to a 4-inch aperture covered with a Baader solar filter. This single-color image was taken through an SBIG STL-11000M camera with a V-band (green) filter and an exposure time of 0.05 sec.

The Triangulum Galaxy, Messier 33 (M33)

This color image was created by combining three images taken through blue, green, and red (B-, V-, and R-band) images taken with the CCD camera on the 20-inch telescope of the Schommer Observatory.

Please send any comments on this page to Carlton Pryor, pryor@physics.rutgers.edu.
This web-site was most recently modified on October 25, 2013.