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.