The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York hosts observing sessions, free and open to the public, one Friday night each month from April through October at Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan. Carl Schurz Park is located along East End Avenue at the end of East 86th Street. The park has a lovely view of a lot of sky above the East River, Roosevelt Island, Queens, and the Queensborough and Triborough bridges.
We meet on the park esplanade (John Finley Walk), overlooking the East River. The 86th Street entrance to the park is the closest to where we set up, though that entrance requires climbing stairs to reach the esplanade. One may enter the park at many other points, including 87th or 88th streets, thereby avoiding the stairs.
We encourage anyone wishing to bring a telescope or binoculars to do so, but it is not required. You are more than welcome to look through ours.
Contact Bruce Kamiat, 212-923-7021, for more information about the Carl Schurz Park sessions.
Please note that solar observing now takes place one Sunday afternoon each month from May through October at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park and on Tuesdays on the High Line. Please use the vertical bar on the left side of this page for more details and for the many other AAA public observing sessions.
These sessions this year are held on the first Friday of each month
April through October
Starting time for all sessions during the academic year is at 8:30 p.m.,
so as not to conflict with the AAA lecture series held at the
American Museum of Natural History
(These sessions will be canceled if weather forecasts are for cloudy skies.
Cancellations will be posted on this Web page.
Cancellations may be posted as late as 4 p.m. on the day of the event,
so please check here to be sure the event is on before you come out.)
See below for times of sunset
and starting times of these events.
All times on this schedule are Eastern Daylight Time.
April 6: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 7:26 p.m.
The waning gibbous Moon is about one night short of last quarter and rises at 1:33 a.m., so it will not appear in the evening sky.
Venus is low in the west and may be obscured by the buildings of Manhattan’s East Side. Our West Side observing locations, such as the High Line, are best for that bright planet. Jupiter (about 425 million miles from Earth this night) rises a little after 10 p.m. and will be high enough for good viewing by 11 or so. Jupiter will reach opposition on May 9, at a distance of only 409 million miles away. At opposition it will rise with the sunset.
Gemini and Auriga are high overhead as we begin; then they follow Taurus and Orion in sliding down the western sky. Brilliant Sirius dominates the southwest. The Pleiades and Hyades star clusters, and the star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, are great sights early in our session, before they sink behind the East Side buildings. The Double Cluster in Perseus and the Alpha Persei Association, as they rotate around the pole from northwest toward the north, are among several other deep-sky objects well placed for viewing this evening.
In late evening, Leo and Ursa Major (with its Big Dipper) will take the overhead spots, with Arcturus, in Boötes; and Vega, in Lyra, climbing the eastern sky.
May 4: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 7:55 p.m.
The waning gibbous Moon is about three nights short of last quarter and rises at 12:15 a.m., so it will not appear in the evening sky.
June 1: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 8:21 p.m.
The waning gibbous Moon is about four nights past full and rises at 10:57 p.m.
July 6: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 8:29 p.m.
The waning gibbous Moon is about one night past last quarter and rises at 1:21 a.m., so it will not appear in the evening sky.
August 3: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 8:09 p.m.
The waning gibbous Moon is about one night before last quarter and rises at 11:53 p.m.
September 7: Starting at 8:00 p.m. (note time change for tonight)
The Sun sets at 7:18 p.m.
The waning gibbous Moon is about two nights before new Moon and rises at 4:54 a.m., so it will not appear in the evening sky.
October 5: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 6:31 p.m.
The waning gibbous Moon is about three nights before new Moon and rises at 3:46 a.m., so it will not appear in the evening sky.
Carl Schurz Park is located at the end of East 86th Street in Manhattan (X on the map below).
- Take the new Second Avenue Q line to 86th Street. Walk east three blocks to the park. The Q line 86th Street station is wheelchair accessible.
- Take the Lexington Avenue express (4 or 5) or local (6) to 86th Street. Walk east or take the M86 crosstown bus to York Avenue. The park is one block farther east.
- Take the Broadway local (1 or 9), Sixth Avenue local (B), or Eighth Avenue local (C) to 86th Street. Take the M86 crosstown bus to York Avenue. The park is one block farther east.
- Crosstown: The M86 runs along 86th Street to York Avenue. Walk one block farther east to East End Avenue. The M79 runs on 81st Street on the West Side and 79th Street on the East Side. Take it to East End Avenue and walk uptown.
- Up or downtown: Buses run uptown along First (M15), Third (M101, M102, and M103), and Madison (M1, M2, M3, and M4) avenues. Go to 86th Street and walk or take the M86 crosstown east, as above. Buses run downtown along Second (M15), Lexington (M101, M102, and M103), and Fifth (M1, M2, M3, and M4) avenues. Go to 86th Street and walk or take the M86 crosstown east, as above.