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News

Adirondack Sky Center to hold open house previewing new museum Friday

Dan McClelland

Adirondack Sky Center to hold open house
previewing new museum Friday
On Friday, August 10, from 3-5pm, the Adirondack Sky Center (formerly known as the Adirondack Public Observatory) will host an open house at its property at 178 Big Wolf Road, to share its plans for the AstroScience Center museum and planetarium.
The outlines of the new c will be staked out on the grounds so that visitors can picture themselves in the Planetarium, Exhibit Hall, and other spaces planned for the museum.
Organizers will provide free popcorn and lemonade, and great music to celebrate this project’s unique ability to show the “Dark Skies” available in the Adirondack region.
Situated on four acres of raised land in the northerly area of Tupper Lake, the Adirondack Sky Center benefits from some of the only dark skies and the most pristine atmosphere east of the Mississippi River. Interest from across the U.S northeast and the local community has spurred the organization to aim to establish a permanent Adirondack center for astronomy and space science, the AstroScience Center, at the site.
Complementing The Wild Center natural history museum, the ASC’s AstroScience Center will greatly expand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning in the region, while also strengthening Tupper Lake’s appeal as a meaningful travel destination.
The ASC completed Phases 1 and 2 and is working on Phase 3 now. Phase 1 focused on development of a Roll-off Rooftop Observatory (RORO), completed in 2012, where stargazing takes place year-round. In 2016 Phase 2 was completed, wherein Envision Architects worked with the then-Adirondack Public Observatory to develop options for site and building plan concepts. A preferred concept design has been selected and developed with a cost estimate. Phase 3 includes finalizing designs and Phase 4 is building the AstroScience Center, and a Research Telescope building, is Phase 5. Now in a Capital Campaign to help fund Phases 3, 4, and 5, the Sky Center volunteers invite residents and visitors across the Adirondack region to experience the thrill of possibility this ambitious project offers, at the open house and on its web site and Facebook page.
When complete, the center will have many day-time events and offerings, including a Planetarium, a modern style with room-edge projectors and all-seating viewing; a lecture hall (which will be available for renting out), appropriate for lectures, concerts, etc.; an interactive classroom, where visitors can do self-guided hands-on activities and classes can have guided discussions, robot building, arts classes, and more; with 14,000 square feet of public space, plus 3,000 square feet of space in the basement.
“Gazing at the night sky in the Adirondacks is an awe-inspiring experience,” said Senator Betty Little. “While so many people visit our region for the beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers and incredible recreational opportunities, the stellar spectacle above is something that many urban and suburban visitors don’t see at home either. The Adirondack Sky Center’s plans for the AstroScience Center Museum and Planetarium is very exciting news. This will be a tremendous tourism and educational attraction and I am pleased to lend my support to help secure funding for this project which is sure to inspire.”
James McKenna, CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST), said "The Adirondack Sky Center in Tupper Lake is the right idea at the right time! It will interpret 'The Wilderness Above' for travelers as the Wild Center across town interprets the wilderness below  and it will tap into our under-appreciated 'Dark Skies.' Large new audiences, such as the many who visit our National Parks just to see night-time views without light pollution, will be lining up once the AstroScience Center opens its doors."
Board President Carol Levy said “The AstroScience Center museum, the second building being constructed to comprise the Adirondack Sky Center, will be a facility providing astronomy-related experiences both day and night for visitors of all ages.”
“It will exponentially expand our educational offerings, including the ability to host many school groups, scout field trips, and more, year-round and will be a center for Astrophotography including training, imaging with telescopes, and processing,” noted Board Vice-President and Tupper Lake Central School District Superintendent Seth McGowan.
Gib Brown, a trustee and retired meteorologist at Newschannel 5, WPTZ, said “This community, Tupper Lake, knows how to get things done. I'm confident that the AstroScience Center will become reality in the years to come."
Residents and visitors are invited to come and get a peek into the future at the observatory on Friday from 3-5pm. Make it an evening with the lecture (following) by Jeffrey Miller of St. Lawrence University, at Tupper Lake High School, at 7p.m., and stop by for free stargazing at the Observatory, beginning 30 minutes or so after sundown (around 9pm), with a guided discussion and telescope viewing of our unique Adirondack night sky.
Check adirondackpublicobservatory.org or its Facebook page, or call 518.359.3538 between 10-5 weekdays, for details.

In preparation for Friday's open house, plastic-covered color drawings of the wonder to come to Tupper Lake at the new AstroScience Center have been placed this week on the graded site of the proposed facility off Big Wolf Road.