Star Gazing and Solar Observing On the High Line

by | Jun 1, 2015 | Culture, Entertainment


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The High Line Park is everything from your ordinary green, and is now offering the unique experience of stargazing and solar observing! Running along the West Side of Manhattan and perched on an old, elevated railway, visitors can gaze through high-powered telescopes and discuss with experts about what they are seeing.

This stargazing and solar observing affair is free and open to the public. It is presented by Friends of the High Line in partnership with the Amateur Astronomers Association (AAA), and led by AAA board member and expert solar astronomer, Tom Haeberle. Visitors can choose to stargaze every Tuesday evening from dusk until 9 p.m, began on April 7 and is running until Oct. 27. The solar observing experience is only held one Tuesday afternoon each month at 6 p.m. to sunset from May through August. The upcoming dates include: June 2, June 30, July 28 and August 25.

The High Line was originally built as an elevated freight line in the 1930’s; the rail line ran 13 miles from St. John’s Park Terminal in the West Village up to the West Side Rail Yards at 34th Street. Then, in the 1950’s due to the development of interstate trucking, the southernmost section was demolished. In the 80’s, the entire line was threatened to be torn down but the Friends of High Line, established in 1999, made it their mission to turn the rail line into a public park. Construction of the first section began in 2006 and the final section finished in 2014. On August 25, 2009, AAA took advantage of this elevated rail line-park and began its weekly observing session. They have gone up every week since, except for a time off during the winter months of November through March and some cancellations due to overcast skies.

Guests are welcome to bring their own gazing telescopes and equipment, however AAA workers will insist on strict safety provisions due to the dangers of improperly filtered direct solar viewing. AAA’s telescopes come equipped with special filters for viewing the Sun for those planning on using AAA’s equipment.

After observing the stars, planets, and moons, participants can also choose to stay for a dinner and dessert provided by AAA’s food vendors on the High Line between West 15th and West 16th Streets.

Although the High Line continues from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, the event takes place mostly near the 14th Street entrance or just South of the Standard Hotel, which crosses over the park near 13th Street. For more information on locations please visit their website and follow @highlinenyc on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information on dates and times, for they are subject to change due to weather.

-by Kelsey Maloney

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