image of 16-inch telescope

The President’s Message

To the Members of AOS,

For those who have been following along, as well as those who may not even be aware, AOS had made a decision at the end of 2023 to expand its viewing capacity for public outreach. This expansion is expected to take place throughout the 2024 fiscal/club year and anticipated to have the following stages:

Stage 1. Acquisition of new equipment – University Grade 16” LX200 SCT Meade – with recent com- puter upgrades.
Stage 2. Temp Use of New Equipment at SRO located on the grounds of the Custer Institute

Stage 3

Option 1 – Plans and discussions to expand Public Observatory into Nassau County Location – Discussions on multiple fronts to expand into a Nassau County Location, currently exploring with NC, the possible use of land in Old Bethpage Village, next potential would be a north shore location on a preserve.

Option 2 – Ties into celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the SRO. If we cannot obtain land grant or NC Parks use for Nassau County’s 1st public observatory, plans would be to renovate the SRO to house both the current equipment and the new equipment and expanding the footprint to potentially a roll off roof, thereby allowing club member remote access for viewing.

Option 3 – Possible expansion to NJ – Jenny Jump State Park.

All the options in Stage 3 would require the financial help via anticipated funding through the use of Member and Non-Member donation(s), offset by any public grants that the club could obtain, and cur- rent club resources, eventually providing locations for club volunteers to thrive. Personally, I think that this year becomes a banner year for the members of AOS and helps support the club into the future for the next 20 years!

We are pleased to say that Stage 1 is complete, the club has completed the purchase, and the new scope was delivered to the grounds of Custer Institute on Saturday Feb 3. Again, I am personally en- thusiastic about this expansion, and it is one that all club members should be quite proud of. The current acquisition now expands our viewing power and puts another powerful tool at our members’ disposal. At the close of 2023, AOS finally replaced our 14” Classic Orange tube, donated by former club member and Past President Bill Bogardus. Bill passed away a few years ago but his generous donation con- tinued to provide great views until 2021, when an unfortunate incident took place. The donated scope needed to go in for service which ultimately required shipping back to Celestron for cleaning.

This shipping resulted in the OTA’s destruction, resulting in a lawsuit with UPS that recently ended in a positive determination for AOS. That provided AOS the funding to replace the Classic 14” Orange tube donated by Bill with a new 14” Celestron EDGE. As you can see, AOS is now situated with both a new 14” and now a new 16”. With both of these acquisitions, AOS is now poised to offer a stellar opportunity for club members with the possibility of remote viewing from home with the planned renovation(s).

We look forward to providing AOS members with the best local viewing opportunities possible and thank you all for your efforts and enthusiasm! If you are not doing anything on a clear Sat night, please travel to Custer to help christen the 16” arrival!


February 4, 2024: AOS Member Mike Barnett in Person, Speaking on Stellar Atmosphere
March 3, 2024:  Steve Lieber AOS Member
April 14: Dr. Christopher E. Mason – Weil Cornell Medical Center – Professor of Ge- nomics, Physiology and Biophysics – DISCUSSION: THE NEXT 500 YEARS ENGINEERING LIFE TO REACH NEW WORLDS
May 5: Brother Guy Consolmango joins us to discuss a new topic


TBD 2024: Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory – Special Guided Private Tour Palisades NJ
TBD 2024: Brookhaven National Laboratory – Special Guided Tour

Jason Cousins, President

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