"See The Sky at CSI"!

International Astronomical Union Observatory Code #294

PUBLIC OBSERVING WE WELCOME YOU!  

OBSERVATORY IS OPEN ON CLEAR NIGHTS LISTED BELOW 

  • Please read info below before coming for your enjoyment and understanding of the rules in visiting observatories . 
  • Calendar Schedule is below.
  • Check back frequently for updates to current schedule.  

Rules for the enjoyment and safety (at any OBSERVATORY)

1. Dress warm on cold days-There is no heat in the observatory (Dress extra warm since you may be on a line for awhile!). Be wise, Avoid lines, come early in the semester not the last minute ( 100 to 300 students have been known to come the last observing session if the weather does not cancel it!) 

2. No cell phone lights or flashlights-use the red lights of the observatory or a red light flashlight for writing to preserve yours and your neighbors night vision. You will be in a dark (red  at the observatory) environment designed to open your pupils to the max to see the details of the heavens. Once you look at a "white" light you will lose this "night" vision you obtained and it will take  twenty minutes to regain it!

3- Park cars with headlights facing away from the observatory. See Rule 2 above.

4- Don't travel alone!

5-In  the Mosquito season please dress appropriately to protect yourself and bring and use a spray.

Please cooperate to make the observatory experience the best it can be for all participants.


STUDENTS: Print some observing forms from here before you come to the observatory OBSERVING FORM LINK. Extra Observing may earn you significant extra credit in your lecture classes. Older forms from are at the back of your laboratory manual.  Please note the many observing opportunities  elsewhere listed and linked below the schedule and in the extra credit opportunities link found to the left on the main page! 

The schedule will be posted late September for the Fall semester and late February or early March (Temperature dependent) for the Spring semester, and early June if we expect to open in June, closed July, August-mid September

Sessions are open provided the weather is not cloudy, raining, snowing or well below freezing.

Please call our number( 718 982 3260) 1/2 hour before the time we are to open only if the weather is questionable (lite clouds, etc).Rain, heavy clouds and extreme cold cancel a session. No message will be left if the weather is not going to interfere (clear skies see our weather report below).




Observations in general, when the opportunity arises (Positions in the sky, time of night etc) we observe celestial objects like: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn,Bright Comets, Planetary Nebula (dying stars), The Orion Nebula (stellar nursery), Andromeda Galaxy, Open Galactic Cluster (regions of young stars born together) and Globular Clusters( ancient stars groups almost going back to the Big Bang), double star systems, and individual stars like Red and Blue giants. See below for seasonal targets.

Seasonal Targets

M11 (6m) open cluster-wild duck; M22 (6m) Globular; M27 (6m) Dumbbell Planetary Nebula; M57 (9m) Ring Nebula; Albireo-Beta Cygni (3m) Double star; M13 (6m) Hercules Globular cluster; M51(9m) Whirlpool Galaxy; NGC 253-Sculpter Galaxy;  M81 &M82 (8m) Exploding Galaxy; M37 (6m)  Open Cluster in Auriga; Epsilon Lyrae (3m) Double Double (stars);   Gamma Amdromedae (2m) - Almach double star; M15 (6m) globular star cluster; M31 (4m) Andromeda galaxy; NGC 869,884(3m)- h & c Double Star Cluster in Perseus; Zeta Aqurii (4m) double star; NGC 457 (6m) The Owl open star Cluster (also called ET) in Cassiopeia ; Arcturus(Red Star), Vega(Blue Star),  

 M15 (6m) globular star cluster;M31 (4m) Andromeda galaxy; NGC 869,884(3m)- h & c Double Star Cluster in Perseus; Zeta Aqurii (4m) double star; NGC 253-Sculpter Galaxy; NGC 457 (6m) The Owl open star Cluster (also called ET) in Cassiopeia ;  Gamma Amdromedae (2m) - Almach double star; M42 (4m) Great Orion Nebula; M45  Pleiades cluster (SUBURU-binocular view),; Beta Orionis (0m) Rigel double star; also Betelgeuse (Red Giant); M37 (6m)  Open Cluster in Auriga; M41 (6m) Open Cluster in Canis Major; M44 (3m)  Beehive cluster (Binocular view) Bright Stars; NGC2392 (10m) The Eskimo Nebula-a planetary nebula in Gemini; M46 (6m) cluster with planetary nebula in Pupis; Iota Cancri (4m) Double star; M97 (11m!) Owl Nebula in Ursa Major;

M37 (6m)  Open Cluster in Auriga; M31 (4m) Andromeda galaxy; NGC 457 (6m) The Owl open star Cluster (also called ET) in Cassiopeia ; NGC2392 (10m) The Eskimo Nebula-a planetary nebula in Gemini;  M44 (3m)   Beehive cluster (Binocular view) Bright Stars; M46 (6m) cluster with planetary nebula in Pupis; Iota Cancri (4m) Double star; M3 (6m) Globular Cluster; M5 (6m) Globular Cluster; M64 (8m) Black Eye Galaxy (spiral); M84 & M86 (8m) Giant Elliptical Galaxies in UMa -The Eyes; M104 (8m) Sombrero Galaxy; NGC 4565 (10m) Needle Galaxy; M13 (6m) Hercules Globular cluster; M51(9m) Whirlpool Galaxy; M81 &M82 (8m) Exploding Galaxy; Epsilon Lyrae (3m) Double Double (stars);

M13 (6m) Hercules Globular cluster;  M51(9m) Whirlpool Galaxy; M81 &M82 (8m) Exploding Galaxy; M97 (11m!) Owl Nebula in Ursa Major; Epsilon Lyrae (3m) Double Double (stars); M4 (6m) Globular Cluster in Scorpio; M7 (5m) Open Cluster in Scopio; M8 (5m) Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius; M11 (6m) open cluster-wild duck; M17 (6m) Swan Nebula in Sagittarius; M20 Trifid Nebula in Sagittarius; M22 (6m) Globular; M27 (6m) Dumbbell Planetary Nebula; M57 (9m) Ring Nebula; Albireo-Beta Cygni (3m) Double star;


ALPHA URSAE MINORIS -POLARIS-NORTH STAR A DOUBLE STAR; ZETA URSAE MAJORIS ALCOR,MIZAR DOUBLE STAR 

and our  Moon (except Full Phase)  and any Planets OR Comets that are visible.  Day time Solar.

Observatory Schedule, Sky Charts and Important Information

CSI Astrophysical Clear Sky Chart

WILL WE OPEN? CHECK OUT  THE SKY TONIGHT BY  THE FOLLOWING CHART ESPECIALLY CLOUD COVER  to get our forecast by A. Danko of the  Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) 

CLICK LINK  For the  clear sky chart and explanation how to read it. 

IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN TELESCOPE AND WANT TO PLAN WHAT TO SEE IN  THE SKY THIS EVENING CHECK OUT THE EXCELLENT SITE: http://tonightssky.com/MainPage.php

Current Observatory Schedule

SESSIONS ARE 2 TO  3 HOURS LONG 

  • MARCH 14 Thursday  8:00 PM GIBBOUS MOON NIGHT
  • MARCH 28 Thursday  8:15 PM 
  • APRIL 4 Thursday  8:20 PM
  • APRIL 11 Thursday  8:00 PM ALMOST FIRST QUARTER
  • MAY 2  Thursday  8:50 PM
  • MAY 9  Thursday  8:30 PM WAXING CRESCENT MOON 


NEW DATE

  • MAY 14  Tuesday  8:30 PM  WAXING GIBBOUS MOON

Details on Celestial Objects

MOON: when the moon is not full then the dividing line of day and night (called the Terminator) gives us long shadows that help us  explore the mountains, craters and maria (seas) of the surface. Usually when we observe the moon we look at two views. An overall view as if we were half way there and an astronaut   view, as if we were over the surface.  

GLOBULAR CLUSTERS:  Ancient satellite objects of our galaxy containing millions of early stars( simple chemistry hence unlikely to have planets)  and we will explore ones like M3, M13 and M5 (M stands for a comet hunter named Messier who noted cloudy like objects that might confuse those looking for comets). 

OPEN STAR CLUSTERS: Our galaxy has many regions of new star birth.  Some we will examine are  M11, known as the Wild Duck Cluster, a large group of "Teenage" Stars, as well as M35, M36, Double Cluster in Perseus (NGC 869) ORION Nebula which is a stellar nursery of new born stars.  M37 Open clusters in Auriga, Binocular views of Pleiades and Beehive clusters

PLANETARY NEBULAE: In old age some stars to stabilize the nuclear reactions in their core throw off their outer atmosphere which expand out at great speed (good bye to any planets in the system). We will examine the RING NEBULAE  and others   ( these are called planetary since early observers thought the disk shaped appearance might be a planet). 

DOUBLE STARS: One third of all stars have companions  and we will examine the some of the beautiful system like Albereo containing a blue and gold companion looking like colorful diamonds in space. double star gamma Andromedae, ( a beautiful blue and gold pair)

COMETS: Chunks of ice and carboneous material left over from our Solar System's birth when approaching the sun (about earths distance) the combined Solar wind (particles mostly Hydrogen shooting off the sun) and the Pressure of Sunlight start to break down these "Dirty Snowballs" usually into a double tail structure. Comets can appear in the sky for quite some time and a number of them broke up some major battles in ancient history because the soldiers were afraid that the gods had sent a bad omen.

GALAXIES: Systems of Billions of stars. Our Milky Way galaxy and The ANDROMEDA GALAXY  contain over 150 billion star systems. (NOTE: Solar systems are stars with planets) Galaxies appear in the telescope as a "fuzzy  cotton ball". The light from Andromeda galaxy our  nearest spiral galaxy to our milky way galaxy ends its existence in your eye after traveling for 2 million years to get to us. 

PLANET VENUS: Galileo became convinced the Sun is the center of the known universe of his time by watching the type of phases Venus appeared in. We can see Venus in Gibbous (more than 1/2 in sunshine), quarter and crescent which is when Venus is closest to us and hence the most brilliant  Venus is crescent shaped.

PLANET JUPITER  will be very bright, a good time to observe it, in the southern sky. We will see the belts and zones on Jupiters surface which are High and Low pressure zones spread over the entire planet since it rotates once every 10 hours and 11 earths can fit across it's diameter. 

GALILEAN MOONS:
We will also see the four main moons of Jupiter (each is almost a planet, two are a big a mercury and two as big as our moon, one IO has the most active Volacanos in the Solar system and Europa is on NASA's list for potential life since it is a world whose surface is all ice and under which is a warm ocean. The Galilean moons are so named, since Galileo became convinced that the Earth moves around the Sun, since it was believed, at the time, that if the Earth moved it would lose the Moon! Jupiter moved and carried it's moons with it, thus, strong evidence for Galileo that the Earth's movement would not lose the moon, The Phases of Venus then convinced him that the Earth moves about the sun and is not the center of the Universe, his stating such  almost cost him his life.( Check out the trial of Galileo on the web if history interests you). 

 

LANET SATURN famous for its rings (Jupiter,Uranus and Neptune also have rings but are only visible in our images taken by passing space craft). We also can see a few of it's moons  especially Titan the largest one in the solar system which has an atmosphere and shows signs of rivers and oceans of liquid methane.

 

Planets URANUS And NEPTUNE will also be observable in our telescope.

 

Observing sites in Staten Island, NYC and NJ

OBSERVING SITES( besides CSI) : NY & NJ

NOTE: External links may be non ADA compliant. 

Amateur Astronomers Association of New York City 

observing done  Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and upstate. See the schedule at the link  for days which include, Saturdays, Sundays, Fridays etc

NEW JERSEY SITES:

William Miller Sperry observatory: Union College, Cranford, NJ.     Close by and easy to get to! Usually open FRIDAY nights sometimes including astronomical talks, only 23 minutes from CSI (get directions AT SITE).

sponsored by the Amateur Astronomers, Inc. at the Cranford Campus of Union County College. 

William D. McDowell Observatory  A new and very modern observatory at the Meadowlands schedule posted at the link only 31 minutes from CSI (get directions AT SITE)  

The Paul Robinson Observatory
Buzz Aldrin Astronomical Center Voorhees State Park, NJ. 
  about 1.5 hrs away. 

Observing sessions at the Robinson Observatory in Voorhees State Park are sponsored by the New Jersey Astronomical Association. The Robinson Observatory is open to the public each Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon (solar observing) f— weather permitting. Make sure weather is perfect before going on this field trip.

The state park is also about 1½ hr from campus. Check a New Jersey map and web site for the location. By car, go to 78 West(NJ Turnpike®Exit 14 or Outerbridge Crossing®287 North®78 West); from 78 West, exit to Route 31 North and then take 513 North (look for signs); just after the town of Highbridge NJ, make a left and go to the top of the hill (observatory location);  

United Astronomy CLubs of New Jersey Jenny Jump State Park Observatory.,  United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey runs the Jenny Jump Observatory- use the Public Program link for the lecture series and also the UACNJ CLUBS link for numerous astronomy club links throughout New Jersey 

Observing sessions at Jenny Jump are held every Saturday from Mid-April to mid-October on a mountain with excellent dark skies. Make sure weather is perfect before going on this field trip. The state park is about 1¼ hr from campus. Check a New Jersey map for the location. By car, go to Route 80 (SUGGESTION: 280 connection from the NJ Turnpike) and get off at exit 12; go towards Hope NJ; left at light in Hope (look for signs to State Park); make first right after crossing small bridge (travel 2 miles) then make left onto Farview Road; 1 mile to observatory cutoff (look for sign to observatory). 

 SAFETY WARNINGS AND COMFORT TIPS:

  • Please dress very warmly in the winter months (winter coat, hat & gloves) as the observatory is not heated while operating.
  • NO CELL PHONE LIGHTS OR FLASHLIGHTS...THEY DESTROY YOUR NIGHT VISION AND YOU AND OTHERS YOU WILL "BLIND" WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEE CELESTIAL DETAILS--USE THE RED LIGHT SYSTEM IN THE OBSERVATORY TO WRITE YOUR INFORMATION AND PRESERVE YOU NIGHT VISION
  • Smoking, eating or drinking is not permitted at this or any other observatory.
  • Students should come prepared with their required observing form and an optional red flashlight. NO WHITE LIGHT PLEASE!
  • Parents.. Children over the age of five are welcomed, but please ensure to  supervise your children.
  • It is suggested that you come as a group of 2 or more for added safety on late night observings here or elsewhere.  You may find yourself leaving an observatory, observing area (like a beach) or Museum alone and in the dark and you should not be in that situation.  

FOCUS THE TELESCOPE TO YOUR EYE:  IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FOCUS THE TELESCOPE ASK THE OBSERVER TO SHOW YOU SO THAT YOU CAN SEE THE DETAILS AND BEAUTY OF THE CELESTIAL OBJECT YOU ARE LOOKING AT.. YOU ARE OUT OF FOCUS IF YOU SEE VERY BLURRY STAR IMAGES OR A LOT OF "DONUTS" IN THE VIEW!

  • DRESS WARMLY with a hat on cool days for observing sessions.
  • DRESS Extremely warm with layers, hat, scarf and warm gloves on cold days.
  • EXTREME COLD( below freezing)  usually cancels an event. 

NOTE: You will be in cold air outside or even in an observatory ( which has no heat) it can be very cold as you wait around for your turn at a telescope. Hot  ( non-alcoholic ) drinks (hot chocolate ) help!

IMPORTANCE OF  SKY CONDITIONS

If it is raining, snowing, storming of any type or very cloudy it is unlikely an observing session will take place. Partly cloudy or sudden sky changes that clear up the atmosphere usually mean there will be a session. If the sky is questionable you can call in some places(see below).  It is best to go when skies are very blue and the air is dry during the day and the weather reports are for fair clear skies during the night.  The latter is especially true for the sites that are further away.

 Do not show up with an umbrella on a rainy day at an observing site and expect to get credit!

CSI STUDENTS DO NOT FORGET!!! BRING YOUR OBSERVING SHEETS

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