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Montauk Observatory Turns To Crowdfunding To Update Astronomical Observatory

Olivia Braat

The educational non-profit charity is now looking for donors to fund the purchase and replacement of necessary parts. (Courtesy Photo)

The Montauk Observatory, after a series of unfavorable circumstances, is looking for funds through GoFundMe to repair the now-not-working parts of the observatory. Upon establishing the educational non-profit charity in 2005, the organization's founders purchased a 20" research-grade telescope that needed a dome and a place to call home. In 2012, a used, 15' Technical Innovations dome was donated to the organization, leaving them just in need of a location. After years of trying to find a suitable area of land to locate the observatory, the Ross School offered a plot of its land for the facilities, yet upon unpacking the equipment, the necessary parts were found inoperable.

"We were delighted when the observatory building was donated to us," explained Donna L. McCormick, Executive Director at the Montauk Observatory. "We thought we were ready to go, to make the dream into a reality, [but] it was very upsetting to us all when we took the building out of storage and discovered that its working parts were unusable."

The educational non-profit charity is now looking for donors to fund the purchase and replacement of necessary parts. They are hoping to raise $25,000. Once able to complete the Observatory with the required equipment, the founders' dream to share the world of astronomy and science with our community will be able to be fulfilled. The observatory's goal is to provide remote access for little to no cost to students, researchers and the community as a whole. It would be the first and only remotely accessible astronomical observatory that Long Islanders could use themselves. In addition to the observatory, the organization plans to create educational programs, including quality lectures, internship and provide help to local students working on science projects.

"Our only recourse was to try to raise the money to get the observatory in shape and automated so that it could be accessed by all," she added.

The Montauk Observatory has received a generous pledge to match its first $6,000 GoFundMe donations, but those funds are not accessible unless they receive an equivalent $6,000 in donations on GoFundMe. Those who pledge $100 or more will receive an autographed copy of Dava Sobel's new book, The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars, as a thank-you, while supplies last.

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com. For more information about the Montauk Observatory, visit www.montaukobservatory.com.

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