THE WILLIAM D. McDOWELL OBSERVATORY IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE
The Observatory is open to the public every Wednesday evening for free stargazing year-round, weather permitting (rain or cloud cover cancels). July and August hours are 9 to 10:30 p.m. Our experts will help you see the moon, planets and constellations in all their splendor. To check Observatory status, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Note Before Planning Your Visit:
- The Observatory closes promptly. It is best to arrive early to ensure your turn at the telescope and avoid a long wait. The Observatory holds 7 to 10 people at one time.
- To access the Observatory telescope, a visitor must be able to climb 25 steps in spiral formation. The stairs have railings on either side, approximately 2 feet apart.
- There are no public restrooms at the Observatory. There is a portable restroom located in the first parking lot on the right entering the park. (The Observatory lot is the second right).
The state-of-the-art Observatory features a research-grade, Classical-Cassegrain telescope housed within a six-meter retractable dome with a 20-inch mirror and is capable of viewing objects millions of light years away. The Observatory is operated by astronomers from Bergen Community College.
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 wavelengths of light to determine the chemical composition of light-emitting objects.
All ages are welcome and children must be accompanied by an adult. Twenty-five people may occupy the Observatory at any one time. Entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Check-in at the Science Center adjacent to the Observatory.
Note: To access the observatory telescope, a visitor must be able to climb 25 steps in spiral formation. The stairs have railings on either side, approximately 2 feet apart.