I recently held a conference call with the Directors and Associate Directors of both observatories, including Tom Reiland, Bill Yorkshire and Rowen Poole from Wagman, and Gene Leis from Mingo (Mingo Associate Directors Brian Crawford and Glenn Smith were
unable to attend). As a result of this call, we’ve come to the consensus that due to the
pandemic it would be in everyone’s best interest to close the observatories to the public
until September 1, 2020. We should also curtail all external (i.e. off-site)star parties
for the same duration. Members can still use the observatories and the observing fields,
however, with restrictions. To some of you the restrictions may seem a little harsh, but
please keep in mind they are for everyone’s safety and well-being, hopefully they will only
be in place for the next four months:
- The entrance gates to both observatories must be locked at all times.
- Nonmembers should not be on the grounds or in the observatories. Keep in mind though that these are public parks and you may encounter someone who is not a member. You may politely ask them to leave the grounds but they are under no obligation to do so.
- Members may not bring guests at this time.
- Telescopes in the field should be at least 10 feet from the building or any other telescope.
- Face masks should be worn inside the observatories.
- Occupancy is limited to one person per room in each observatory.
- No children under the age of 12.
- Practice good personal hygiene, before handling anything in the observatory make sure that your hands are washed or sanitized.
- After using any of the observatory eyepieces you should sanitize the barrel being careful not to touch the optics, it may be in your best interests to bring your own eyepieces.
Hopefully there will be some breakthrough in the treatment of the virus or a vaccine developed and we will be able to go back to showing everyone the wonders of the night sky unrestricted. In the meantime, please stay safe.