Astronomical Society of Greenbelt
Observatory
This page last updated on:
   August 20, 2009

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When the Astronomical Society of Greenbelt (known as the Greenbelt Astronomy Club from 1993 to 2005) was created, one of its original goals was to establish an observatory. Unfortunately, achieving this objective seemed an unlikely task for many years, as the club was short of both funds and people. However, a large part of the funding issue was resolved in 2001 when Montgomery College donated an observatory dome and telescope to the club.  A fund drive then raised several thousand dollars, much of which was matched by Gil and Jaylee Mead (founders of the Mead Family Foundation).  The City of Greenbelt also agreed to make a substantial contribution to help with this goal.

Greenbelt is a suburb of Washington, DC. Due to the problem of light pollution, truly dark skies cannot be found without travelling a considerable distance. Thus, the group decided to locate its observatory in the city of Greenbelt itself. A site near the athletic fields on Northway was quickly identified as the best location for an observatory.

To facilitate construction, the observatory dome was donated to the City of Greenbelt. This eliminated the need for some permits and review processes, and thus financial expense.

After raising funds, a Memorandum of Understanding was agreed to with the City of Greenbelt. Even though the City took ownership of the observatory dome, it was still necessary to obtain four permits for construction. It took quite a while for these permits to be obtained; in particular, one of these was slowed down when the county suspended all permits in the area because it is in an historical district (even though the dome is not historical, and is located quite a distance from any of the structures considered historical). The last of these permits was approved in September, 2005.

Unfortunately, the many delays meant that contractors could not be retained by the City for quite some time. Thus, the concrete pier was not poured until February, 2007. The observatory dome was put in place in September 2007. Some interior work remains before the observatory is ready to use. At the time this web page was most recently updated (December 9, 2007), final completion of the observatory is anticipated in Spring, 2009.


 
Currently maintained by:
Matt Elliott - email him at:
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Original GAC/ASG site by:
Tom Bridgman
Astronomical League Logo The Greenbelt Astronomy Club is a member of the Astronomical Leagueand the InternationalDark-Sky Association. International Dark-Sky Association Logo