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the Lens


I often notice myself gazing up at the stars and while I find it very relaxing, I always wonder if there's anything else in the universe and if so what it is. I consider myself lucky because the majority of the time I look up I am able to see the stars nice and bright in the sky. I couldn’t imagine living in a place where the stars were barely visible because of the city lights. Even though I am lucky enough to see the stars when I look up at the sky at night the Adirondack Public Observatory is an opportunity to stargaze on a whole different level.

Looking through the lens

I am usually Michelle’s sidekick on her adventures, however this time she sent me off on my own and I decided to get my own sidekick.  It was a bit chilly so my cousin, Genna, and I made sure to bundle up, fill our to-go cups with hot chocolate, and head out for a viewing at the Adirondack Public Observatory.

A selfie before we headed out
A selfie before we headed out

Although Genna had been to the observatory twice before with an astronomy class she took, this was my first experience at the observatory. I quickly realized that I had really been missing out.  When we got there we were greeted by two friendly faces (Gordy and Marc), who were eager to tell us about the history of the observatory as well as show us the stars. First, we were able to get a close up view of the moon. Even though I couldn’t see the man on the moon I was a little shocked to realize that I could see the craters. From there I was hooked and wondered that else I could get an up close view of. Based on the time of night you go there are different starts visible. We arrived at about 7:30 pm and stayed until 9 pm. Throughout that time we were able to view the Andromeda galaxy, the Milky Way, and Cassiopeia (a queen in Greek mythology). Even though we didn't view all of the constellations through the telescopes we were shown Vega, Lyra, the tale of the swan, and Taurus the bull. Genna even noticed a shooting star!  During out visit Marc gave us both an turn at moving the large telescope. This sounds like quite a daunting task but it was as simple as pushing a few buttons. 

Marc showing Genna how to use the telescope
Marc showing Genna how to use the telescope
The smile on Genna’s face as our visit ended was priceless. On our drive back home I asked Genna what her favorite part was and she stated that she "loved it all." My favorite part was viewing the Andromeda galaxy and realizing how big it is. I was thanked countless times for bringing her along with me and she was thrilled to share her story with her parents. Thank you Gordy and Marc for a great experience. 
Genna took a moment to pose for a picture
Genna took a moment to pose for a picture

Tips from the 10-year-old:

  • Dress Warm: As we transition into the colder months be sure to bundle up as the roll-off roof exposes you to the outdoor temperature.
  • Bring hot chocolate: Nothing's better than a warm cup of hot chocolate to keep you nice and toasty.
  • Bring a camera: Genna was fascinated that I could take a picture with my phone through the telescope.
  • Look for shooting stars: I missed it because I was looking through the telescope in another direction, but Genna was beyond excited to see a shooting star.

It's a great experience on multiple levels

There are several reasons why you should head to the observatory for a chance to see the stars. Who doesn’t love an activity that is educational, kid-friendly, and outside? That’s what you get at the observatory. The roll-off roof offers you access to a dose a fresh air which is always good for the soul. The observatory is very kid-friendly and is a chance for both kids and adults to learn something new. I don’t know about you but I love a good learning opportunity.

Marc setting up the telescope
Marc setting up the telescope

Hours of operation

From now until Memorial Day the Adirondack Public Observatory is open to the public on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of every month. The roof opens at 7:30 pm and closes at 11:00 pm. The observatory is located at 178 Big Wolf Road in Tupper Lake.

The next time you are looking for a great Tupper Lake experience, head out for dinner, then get your family bundled up and head down to the Adirondack Public Observatory. You'll have an awesome opportunity to view the night sky - and maybe you'll even catch a glimpse of your own shooting star!