Gretna Observatory

The Gretna Observatory is the largest public observatory in the Greater New Orleans area. It was built to promote a greater interest in astronomy and was specially designed to be an educational benefit to schools by creating an awareness and interest in astronomy, science, and technology. The Observatory first opened its doors to the public in late October of 2004.

Gretna ObservatoryWHERE: The Gretna Observatory is located at # 1 Copernicus Lane behind Gretna Jr. High on Gretna Blvd. between Lafayette St. and Manhattan Blvd. Copernicus Lane also continues across Gretna Blvd. turning into Huey P. Long Ave. It is open to the general public with free admission and parking every Monday and Wednesday evening except for major holidays and as always weather permitting. Partly cloudy evenings will be determinable by the observatory operator if sky conditions will allow any or limited observing.

WHEN: It is open Monday and Wednesday nights when the sky is clear.

WHAT: The observatory offers viewing through a pier-mounted GPS/Go-To computer-controlled 16-inch Meade LX-200GPS f/10 catadioptric type telescope better known as a Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope or SCT. It is housed under a traditional 16-foot diameter 360-degree rotational aluminum dome. Typical astronomical objects of interest pending on availability in the night sky include our moon, the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, various nebulae, double stars, star clusters, constellations, etc.

Other associated optical equipment include a piggybacked Stellarvue 80mm refractor telescope, Orion 7x50 binoculars, a plain or "white" light solar filter for safely observing the sun through the Meade 16" SCT as well as a Coronado Solar Max 60T hydrogen-alpha telescope for viewing the Sun in its natural "hydrogen-alpha" waves yielding more of the sun's features with greater detail.

WHO: Everyone is welcome! School groups, Scout groups and any other organized groups with an interest in using the facility are welcomed and encouraged to schedule special observing sessions and star parties. To schedule a group visit or to learn more, please email Ron Marcella at or call (504) 363-1597.

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