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 especially 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.
WHERE: 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: Operating hours are dusk to 11 p.m. during the Summer and 7 p.m., to 10 p.m. during the Winter. The transition from Summer to Winter hours occurs roughly around the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.
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 and Scout groups and any other organizational groups with an interest in using the facility are welcomed and encouraged to schedule special observing sessions and star parties. Contact Councilman Vincent Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ron Marcella at email@example.com to schedule events and for any other information about the Gretna Observatory.
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