Press-Republican

Tuesday

September 3, 2013

Adirondack Public Observatory busy star-gazing

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“The constellations are constantly changing, the planets are constantly changing. Whatever is in the sky, we’re watching.”

COMET ISON

The amateur astronomers are waiting with hopes high for a spectacular event later this fall.

“A very visible comet, Ison, is heading toward the sun,” Levy said.

“If the brightness continues, it will definitely be a naked-eye object by November. We have our fingers crossed. We’re excited about that.”

TOURISM, EDUCATION

That observatory puts a new tourism draw in Tupper Lake.

It also provides a regional educational center, one with a major local benefit.

“It’s not only stargazing; Gordy Duval teaches an astronomy class at the high school,” Levy said. “And we do an after-school astronomy class where we teach the kids how to use telescopes and bring them to the observatory on the last day.”

The facility hosts night-sky lectures, often in conjunction with the Wild Center, also in Tupper Lake.

FUTURE PLANS

The Adirondack Public Observatory is still raising funds to finish its long-term plan with several facilities in the works.

“We are in the process of finishing up Phase 1 of three phases,” Levy said. “This building is the first phase.

“The second and third phases will be concurrent, we think, and will consist of installation of a research-grade telescope — a 24-inch reflector, which is larger than amateurs have in their back yard.

“And then we will build an astro-science center that will house offices, a classroom, a museum, a gift shop and eventually a planetarium.”

The observatory will remain open through the winter. The site occupies about four acres on Big Wolf Road, past the campsites and the Tupper Lake beach.

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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TO LEARN MORE

The Adirondack Public Observatory has a new Facebook page with photographs and updates documenting progress this summer. It is online at: http://is.gd/ZpvYvo

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