The observatory, located in the Nature Study Area (off Kean Avenue), features a 6.5 - foot Newtonian reflecting telescope, which was built and donated by Tom McCague, retired Moraine Valley professor. The telescope is made of common hardware store items, such as plywood, Teflon, PVC pipe, and glass. For this reason, it is also considered a Dobsonian-style telescope, named for John Dobson, a renowned amateur astronomer known for his inexpensive ways of building telescopes. The Nature Study Area also backs up to the Palos Preserves, which provides the largest urban night sky.
The telescope is housed outside in a dome on the G. Jack Bradley Observation Deck. The remote area is equipped with motion-detection lights that can be controlled during observation and monitored by security cameras. The telescope is used as a teaching tool, not only for Moraine Valley but for local schools and community groups as well. Only trained personnel are allowed to utilize the telescope. You can request a field trip.
Upcoming Open Viewing Dates
Saturday, October 21 at 6:15 p.m.
Targets: Wax. gibbous Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus
You can bring binoculars if you have them and dress for falling nighttime temperatures as the air cools down quickly most nights. During the warm wet months bring insect repellent if mosquitoes bother you. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children under the age of 8 have difficulties looking through optical telescope eyepieces.
*We do cancel if conditions make observing impossible such as cloud cover, rain, very high winds.