June 1, 2018 – miSci hosted a celebratory ground-breaking ceremony today, Friday, June 1, 2018, in advance of construction of the new Dudley Observatory commencing on its campus this weekend. The Dudley Observatory has been in residence at miSci since September 2015, presenting astronomy education programs at the museum and at community outreaches throughout the region. The opening of the new facility at miSci will mark Dudley Observatory’s return as a public observatory after closing its Albany campus roughly 40 years ago.
“The Dudley Observatory has been an academic hub for astronomy in the Capital Region for 160 years,” said Dudley Observatory Board President, Dr. Heidi Newberg. “This new observatory building has been made possible by our partnership with miSci, which has enabled us to reduce administrative costs and shift focus to connecting the public to the wonders of the universe.”
The new Dudley Observatory at miSci will be a modern roll-top observatory, measuring 16 by 20 feet. The roof of the building rolls off onto a trellis, exposing the entire building to the sky. Professional installation of the building by specialty construction company, Backyard Observatories, will begin on Sunday, June 3rd. The roll-top building will house a 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrainian telescope, mounted on a metal pier in the center of the building. The state-of-the-art telescope is computerized, operated via a hand controller and laptop, and suitable for both solar and night sky observation.
Once fully installed, the observatory will be open to the public and access will be included with miSci admission. A public Grand Opening Celebration will occur on Friday, July 27th, in time for viewing of the Mars at Opposition astronomical event. Moving forward, the Dudley Observatory at miSci will host regular observation hours, introduce evening hours for Night Sky Adventures and star parties, and present other events surrounding significant astronomical events, such as Asteroid Day, Observe the Moon Night, eclipses, planetary transits, and more.
“The addition of the Dudley Observatory’s telescope to miSci profoundly broadens our educational offerings and establishes miSci as a nationally unique center of learning that boasts of a planetarium, observatory and Challenger Learning Center all under the same roof, and right here in Schenectady. This is truly a momentous moment,” says miSci President Dr. Gina C. Gould.
The construction and installation of the new Dudley Observatory at miSci was made possible by nearly $100,000 in funding provided from a combination of public and private sources. However, this project represents only the first phase of a multi-phase initiative to enhance and expand miSci’s campus – including the Vale Park Expansion Project, restoration of the Dudley Observatory’s historic 1893 Pruyn telescope, and construction of a domed observatory building with classroom space for the Pruyn.
“As one of the only engineers serving in the New York State Assembly, I’m always working to provide more opportunities for STEM education and hands-on learning opportunities, and I’m proud to support great partners like miSci here in Schenectady that are working towards the same goal,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “The grant funding secured from my office will help revitalize the Dudley Observatory and strengthen miSci as a regional premier science museum, community asset, and significant resource for Capital Region residents,” the Assemblyman emphasized. “With this investment, I see this observatory as another addition to the growing list of destinations here in the Electric City.”
miSci is located at 15 Nott Terrace Heights in Schenectady. miSci general admission is: Children (3-12) $7.50; Seniors (65+) $9; Adults $10.50. Planetarium tickets are $5. The Dudley Observatory will open on July 27, 2018 and access to telescope viewing will be included in miSci general admission.
About Dudley Observatory
Founded in 1856, the Dudley Observatory is the nation’s oldest non-academic intuition of astronomical research. It has endured by adapting to the needs of the times and by always serving the community – both the scientific community and the greater Capital Region community. The legacy of Dudley’s observations is preserved in the original equipment, now housed in miSci collections. The Dudley archives and library, containing records of its astronomical work and many rare volumes, are now available to researchers. In 2015, due to the increasing need for greater science education along with the other STEM fields, Dudley entered into a partnership with miSci ( the Museum of Innovation and Science) to provide astronomy programs and education. www.dudleyobservatory.org
At miSci, all exhibits, programs, and events are designed with its mission in mind: to inspire people to celebrate and explore science and technology, past, present and future. miSci is home to an extensive Archive and Collection, a Challenger Learning Center, the Dudley Observatory, the Suits-Bueche Planetarium, and various special exhibits and programs each year. miSci’s vast Archives house more than 1.6 million prints and negatives from the GE Photograph collection; an archival collection with more than 3,500 cubic feet of historic materials; and more than 15,000 objects relating to the history of science and technology. Featuring dynamic exhibits, state-of-the-art space learning centers, standards-based education for K-12 classes and students, and special programming for teens, miSci offers patrons hands-on exploration while fostering an understanding and appreciation of STEM subjects and careers. www.miSci.org
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