It may very well be Cranford’s best kept secret. A little known spot ripe with educational possibilities and the opportunity to see something you have never seen before. A place that fosters in children an interest in astronomy, science, and the world around us. A place to truly enjoy, not only the great outdoors, but the GREAT outdoors beyond. A place that kids will talk about long after they leave, and will ask to return to again and again. A place for the whole family to go to and walk away feeling awed and inspired... and a bit small. A place that is right in our own backyard. And a place that is absolutely free!
The general public is welcomed to the Sperry Observatory at Union County Community College to enjoy views of the night sky and to learn a little something about it And, again, the best part ...admission and parking are free!!! (Donations ARE gratefully accepted.) The Sperry Observatory is open to the public every Friday evening throughout the year. An 8:30 p.m. presentation for general audiences reviews a selected astronomical subject. These informal talks usually begin with a short briefing about current space missions, and are always followed by viewing of celestial objects through the two large telescopes (weather permitting). If arrangements are made in advance, they will also do a 7:30 PM presentation for youth groups. Again...free! It should be noted that this facility is an observatory and not a planetarium. The temperature inside the domes is the same as outdoors, and viewing of the sky is done in cramped quarters in almost total darkness, so might be a little offsetting for VERY young children. Just consider your audience when planning.
Reservations are not necessary for individuals or families. Larger groups, however, can schedule their visits with the Observatory Chairman. In fact, if you give them a heads-up that your group is coming, they will often tailor their presentation specifically for that group. The Sperry Observatory is the home of Amateur Astronomers, Incorporated, a non-profit organization. The observatory houses two of the largest telescopes on the East Coast for amateur use. For more information, and for a complete schedule of events, visit their website at www.asterism.org .