One of the activities that have accompanied us as a species for thousands of years is the observation of the stars. Observing the celestial bodies has helped us understand the concept of time, but also the concept of space. To observe the sky you do not need much knowledge, or sophisticated devices, only will. If you like to observe the sky, or you feel curious to know a little more about this beautiful branch of knowledge, and you live in the Mid-Atlantic region, this post is for you.
We will make a list of different places in the Mid-Atlantic from which you can observe the night sky and its wonders, as well as learn new things all the time.
Crosby Ramsey Memorial Observatory
This is one of the most important observatories in the state of Maryland. It is located in Maryland Science Center, and it is an excellent opportunity to approach astronomy, in case you do not have any experience in the subject. In this place, you will find not only basic programs to learn astronomical observation, but you will find different cultural activities, such as the Friday Night Stargazing. The latter is a public program, open to anyone, which takes place every Friday. It is free, and, while the weather is not problematic, you will always find a friendly community of amateur astronomers after five in the afternoon.
This is considered the main observatory of the state of Pennsylvania. It is located in Pittsburgh, specifically, in Riverview Park. This place is intended for important scientific research. It is not far from downtown Pittsburgh, and is located in an area where observation is just perfect. Although most of the equipment can only be used by professionals and by students, there are many free classes and observation sessions open to the public in which you can participate. This is a perfect place to take advantage of meteor showers, eclipses of the Moon, giant moons, and sightings of planets close to the Earth, such as Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. The latter, for example, can be observed with tremendous clarity this month from sunset to midnight. Do not miss it!
Mt. Cuba Astronomical Observatory
Although there are not many observatories in the state of Delaware, if you live in Greenville, you can take advantage of the fun of heaven. This observatory uses a 24 × 4.5-inch telescope and is powerful enough to see planets, nebulae, and distant galaxies. Here you can also find public events, in which you can attend with your family. It is a perfect place for children who want to know a little more about the wonders of the night sky. In the same way, many people usually meet on the special dates of the cosmic calendar, and bring their own telescopes. Please note that these public events have an age restriction for children, as only entry for fifth-grade students is allowed inwards. Keep in mind too, that even though these events are free, you need to make a reservation before attending.
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Fan Mountain Observatory
This observatory, located in Albemarle County, is a meeting place for experts and researchers of all kinds, interested in theoretical astronomy. This observatory is famous for its X-ray equipment, which allows us to reach very distant galaxies and clusters and evaluate the different properties and physicochemical compositions of these celestial bodies. There are many interesting study programs, like the one that was held last December. In this program, we studied the evolution of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Here you can enjoy many outdoor activities. Do not forget to bring your own observation equipment!
John W. H. Simpson Observatory
This is one of the main observatories of the state of New Jersey. It is located in the Nature Center, in Washington Crossing Park. This observatory is perfectly designed, to have a refined perspective towards, practically, any direction. One of the few restrictions that this observatory has is that it is only allowed to enter when the weather allows outdoor activities. This means that if you look at the sky and the weather forecast, and there are definitely not very good chances of seeing anything, you better stay at home. Every Friday night there are public observation events. They are made outdoors, but very sophisticated indoor telescopes are also used. If you are an astronomy enthusiast this place is perfect for you.
Astrophysical Observatory at College of Staten
Normally, the inhabitants of the Big Apple complain of not being able to see anything in the night sky due to the strong light pollution that New York has. However, those interested in stargazing can travel to this observatory located on Staten Island and enjoy astronomical phenomena. In this place, you can also find events open to the public to observe and learn more about this science. In that place, you can learn to use your telescope, in case you have bought one and you do not have the knowledge or the time to learn it to use. So this can be a perfect plan for you and your family. From here you can see the passage of meteorites and planets; you can learn to locate different stars in the sky, such as nebulae, or the main constellations, and you can learn to calculate the trajectory of the planets in our solar system. If you are interested, you can even sign up for courses and workshops. They are not very expensive, and you will certainly enjoy them a lot.