Martz-Kohl Observatory: Friends Get A Rain-check

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The Martz-Kohl Observatory in Frewsburg is complying with New York State regulations this spring by not inviting the public for tours and stargazing for a while. We are also temporarily suspending our popular movie nights and special guest speaker series. We look forward to welcoming everybody back as soon as we can, so please stay tuned!
In the meantime, we are sharing some of our latest astro-photographs with Jamestown Gazette readers, taken by some of our members before the shut-down, or by remote control from their homes.

Viewed through a telescope, the universe can be stunningly beautiful. Yet the views tell us little about the vast sizes and distances that are almost beyond comprehension, especially for earthlings like us.

Take the famous Horsehead Nebula, for example. This picture, recently taken with the Martz-Kohl observatory’s most powerful telescope (with a light-gathering mirror 24” in diameter) is a cloud of interstellar dust a thousand times thinner than a puff of cigarette smoke, yet visible because of its enormous size. It’s no ordinary dust cloud. The fastest spaceship ever launched from Earth would need more than 50,000 years to cross it from side-to-side, that’s about 20 trillion miles. Our entire solar system could get lost in the Horsehead Nebula like a goldfish in Chautauqua Lake!

The Whirlpool and its neighbor, M51b, are interacting (colliding?) on an enormous scale. The pair are home to hundreds of billions of stars. This cosmic dance is happening 23 million light years from Earth. It can be seen with a telescope not far from the eastern-most star of the Big Dipper.

To see more of our astro-photographs or to learn more about the Martz-Kohl Astronomical Observatory and individual and family memberships, please travel to www.martzobservatory.org. Your computer can reach us at the speed of light and, as soon as we can reopen, your car can reach us only 12 miles south of downtown Jamestown, New York.

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.