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Lyndhurst Observatory Reopening Next Month

Visitors at the William D. McDowell Observatory at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst.
Visitors at the William D. McDowell Observatory at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. Photo Credit: NJSEA
The William D. McDowell Observatory is open for free from 8:30-10:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
The William D. McDowell Observatory is open for free from 8:30-10:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Photo Credit: NJSEA

LYNDHURST, N.J. — The William D. McDowell Observatory, which has been under repair since early this year, is scheduled to reopen in mid-to-late June, in time for summer stargazing.

The hydraulic system that operates the retractable dome at the Meadowlands facility has been fixed and the dome is functional, said Brian Aberback, a spokesman for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

"The telescope's optics will now be cleaned and the instrument will undergo routine yearly testing to see if any adjustments are needed," Aberback said. The observatory, which is in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, has a research-grade telescope with a 20-inch lens. There was a leak in the hydraulic system that controls its 6-meter dome so the sports authority closed the observatory in January and suspended viewings so the repair work could be done.

Reiner Overhead Doors of Hasbrouck Heights provided the parts, which had been on back-order, delaying the repairs, Aberback said. The cost was $9,400.

The observatory is within DeKorte Park adjacent to state-of-the-art classrooms and the Meadowlands Environment Center. The observatory’s 20-inch, research-grade telescope is open to the public, free of charge on viewing nights, and a visit is incorporated in all learning series sessions and special events. The observatory is open for free public viewing every Wednesday evening, weather permitting. Observatory hours change with the seasons.

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