|Although the observatory was installed at Rye Neck in 1999, the story of the observatory really began in 1980.
Mr. Alan Goldberg, a Rye resident, parent of Rye Neck students, and generous, inveterate benefactor to Rye Neck High School, wanted to get involved with astronomy. Because he had the means, he bought just about the best personal telescope money can buy: the legendary Questar 7.
The Questar Corporation, of New Hope, Pennsylvania, makes some of the most well-machined, rigorously tested, highly refined, and original telescopes in the world. They make a 3 1/2"; desktop model, the 7" model, and a 12". Only 800 Questar 7s have been manufactured.
The 7" Questar that Mr.Goldberg purchased in 1980 is a massive contraption. The heavy-duty astronomical tripod weighs about sixty pounds. The telescope itself is attached to an electronically driven fork mount (used for guiding the scope to counter-act the earth's rotation) which weighs another seventy pounds, and the telescope tube assembly (seven inches in diameter and three feet long) weighs sixty more pounds.
One can easily imagine that carrying the full telescope outdoors and setting it up in the dark is hardly a one-person operation. So laborious was the task that Mr. Goldberg only did it once in eighteen years.
There is an old saying in amateur astronomy that goes, "The telescope that you see the most with is the one you use the most." If it's a tedious process just to get the thing outside, you're just not going to use it that much.
And so Mr. Goldberg thought Rye Neck might appreciate his telescope and find some applications for it. He came to the school one day in May of 1998 and gave the school everything he had purchased ... telescope, mount, tripod, solar filters, planet filters, eyepieces, guiders, adapters ... the works!
On top of this generosity, the Rye Neck Foundation was generous enough to donate the HomeDome observatory, and so the Rye Neck Community Observatory was born.
Astronomy seminars at the observatory are now offered to the community at least twice ever school year by Mr. Joel Seligmann, Rye Neck English teacher and amateur astronomer.
|Seminar participants line up at Mr. Seligmann's 8" Dobsonian during one class this spring.|