In collaboration with the Amateur Astronomers Association, the city parks department has decided to install a small aluminum observatory at Jerome Park on Goulden Avenue, near the Bronx High School of Science.
For over 40 years, the 800-pound dome that will crown the structure sat on top of a building at Nassau Community College on Long Island until 2019, when the school replaced it with a green roof and six open-air telescopes. The association hauled the dome off last spring, and its future was a mystery until a few days ago.
“There were some comments by people who said, ‘Why are you putting an observatory in the Bronx?’” Bart Fried, executive vice president of the Amateur Astronomers Association, told Gothamist. “All they’re thinking is, ‘Oh, you know, you can’t see anything from New York,’ which is baloney because we’ve been observing all around New York for almost a century now.”
The observatory won’t be too intimidating as it’s only slightly bigger than a port-a-potty. The 9.5-foot high, 6.5-foot-wide structure can comfortably fit two or three people. The dome will house a powerful Celestron Edge HD telescope capable of providing stargazers with views of everything in our solar system, such as comets, asteroids, the sun, and all the planets, including the dwarf planet Pluto.
Ground is set to break this March, and construction will reportedly only take a month. The structure will sit on the banks of the Jerome Park Reservoir in the North Bronx near DeWitt Clinton High School, the Bronx High School of Science, Lehman College, and Walton High School.
It will be open to the public 7 nights a week — free of charge.
The Amateur Astronomers Association will fund, maintain, and operate the observatory. Bronx Science students will have exclusive access for their own programs during school hours.