William D. McDowell Observatory
We are pleased to announce that the William D. McDowell Observatory will be open for free public viewing nights every Wednesday, beginning on Aug. 5, from 8:30 to 10:30 pm. Observatory hours change with the seasons. Check back for a full schedule including which planets and constellations can be seen during each month.
The state-of-the-art William D. McDowell Observatory is open to the public every Wednesday, beginning Aug. 5, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. The Observatory is also used as a teaching tool for students who participate in the Meadowlands Environment Center’s school education programs. Its research-grade, Classical-Cassegrain telescope is housed within a six-meter retractable dome with a 22-inch mirror and is capable of viewing objects millions of light years away. The Observatory is operated by expert astronomers from Bergen Community College.
The Observatory will also be open from 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, to 1:30 am Monday, Sept. 28, for a special viewing of the Total Lunar Eclipse event. The peak of the occurrence, when the Earth is positioned completely between the Full Moon and the Sun, will take place at approximately 10:45 p.m. The night will include a talk on the history of eclipses and telescope viewing of other astronomical objects, including Saturn and Neptune.
The telescope has several special filters designed to help minimize the effects of the area’s light pollution. The precision instrument also includes specialized cameras to photograph various astronomical objects, a photometer to measure the brightness of stars and study how they vary over time, and a spectroscope to analyze the wavelengths of light to determine the chemical composition of a light-emitting object.