In a city as great as New York, it’s hard to believe that we don’t actually have a public observatory for the average resident to be able to stargaze and enjoy the heavens above. But that won’t be the case for much longer.
Thanks to an aggressive push by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York for the past few years, which we wrote about back in 2022, that is all about to change.
After negotiations with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the agency has approved the installation of the small observatory in Jerome Park that will be operated by the association with Bronx High School of Science students having exclusive access during school hours.
Once completed and open, Bronx and city residents will have free access to the observatory and opened seven nights a week completely free of charge.
The observatory itself is actually quite small and not a large structure by any means and is about the size of a phone booth (remember those?). Construction is expected to begin some time in March and according to the association, should take about a month to finish given its relatively small size.
It’s really fitting that The Bronx will become the home of NYC’s first public astronomy given that one of the most famous astrophysicists of our time is none other than one of our very own, Neil deGrasse Tyson who not only called our borough home but is also a graduate of Bronx High School of Science.
Another famous stargazer from The Bronx is Carolyn C. Porco, a Bronx native who graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School and went on to become of the foremost experts on the outer planets with particular emphasis on Saturn and planetary rings.
For almost 200 years, many have tried to establish a public observatory in New York City but finally the Amateur Association of Astronomers of New York has succeeded where so many have failed.
Thanks to this great endeavor, the next great astrophysicist or astronomer may be a kid from The Bronx who got inspired by a trip to a free, public observatory right in their own backyard.