Want To See The Stars? CSI Has An Astrophysical Observatory You Can Visit!

by | Sep 6, 2016 | Things to Do


Did you know, The College of Staten Island offers a comprehensive and renowned telescope that allows one to observe all the whimsical things of the universe (outer space)??

As far as this arena is concerned, I always had trouble wrapping my head around “Outer Space” and what it has to offer. When I was a young college student at The College of Staten Island; I took an Astronomy course with Professor Irving Robbins, who I had the pleasure of interviewing today, and I came to realize that we are all extremely small creatures in our ever expanding world. Professor Robbins is noted for making strides in the Astrophysical Field. He has taught Astronomy at The College of Staten Island for several years and is highly respected by the college and his students.

At CSI’s Astrophysical Observatory, students and visitors alike can peer into the heavens and see space with their own eyes. The Astrophysical Observatory of the College of Staten Island (CSI) is located adjacent to the running track on the CSI Willowbrook Campus. The observatory’s main instrument is a Meade lx200 acp 16-inch (0.46-m) f/10 computerized Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope.

Here’s some more info about the Observatory from their official website:

The function of our Astrophysical Observatory, located at the only public college on Staten Island, is to support the college in its fulfillment of it’s mission by making accessible to the students, the residents of this Island and neighboring metropolitan areas, an active dedicated on-going educational opportunity that speaks to some of the excitement of the future of astronomy, some of the inherent questions of our past about our universe, and some of the environmental needs of the present.

Firstly, the observatory is the highlight of an extended laboratory component of the C.S.I. Astronomy program which serves a significant population of the liberal arts and science majors. The large number of students choosing the study of Astronomy is a reflection of their interest in the fundamental questions of existence. Astronomy casts these inquiries in a scientific context and by its nature, presents the romantic aspect of science in its investigations. Students in the program are able to explore first hand the general characteristics of our Solar System, our Milky Way Galaxy and other Galaxies.

Staten Island Observatory

Staten Island Observatory

I Asked Professor Robbins Why Staten Islanders Should Visit The Astrophysical Observatory at The College of Staten Island, Here’s What He Said:

  • Enlightenment – when one realizes that there is a big universe out there.
  • There are certain “pizzazz” in the universe to see: mountains on the moon and the fact that Saturn has rings.
  • He said, “One can see thousands of stars in one little viewfinder. It would blow the mind of “primitive people.”
  • He mentioned that it would blow the mind of many New-Yorkers, “getting to see blankets of stars that they’ve never seen.”
  • He threw in the Research Component: “We track Asteroids that might hit the earth and look for extra-terrestrial life. He mentioned that they were able to track Russian, Chinese and American weather satellites and grab the images that they were sending. There is also a society of women engineers working on a project that will use the observatory as a tracking station for the satellite that they are building. They are doing this to track space debris. They want to know how things get lost and how they behave if they get stuck. They want to know how the debris behaves on its way down before it is burnt up in the atmosphere.

The College of Staten Island Observatory is located on the College of Staten Island Campus. Go take a gander, you’ll see things you’ve never seen before. The observatory is open to the general public and college community approximately once per week during the Fall, Spring and Summer Sessions and on special celestial events. There is no charge but donations are always appreciated. For a full schedule of public availability, click here.

The Astrophysical Observatory at The College of Staten Island | 2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10314 [map] | (718) 982-3260


For a full schedule and contact information, click here

To see the delightfully retro website for the observatory, click here

Learn about The College of Staten Island’s Astronomy Program, here

Like the Astrophysical Observatory on Facebook, here

Kristin Pitanza

Written By Kristin Pitanza

Kristin Pitanza is an adjunct lecturer at the College of Staten Island and Saint John’s University in which she teaches writing and education. Her dedication lies with her writing and her students. She facilitates a program through Saint John’s University titled $30,000 degrees in which she helps high school students achieve a four year college career path. She is a native Staten Islander and likes writing about her hometown. Kristin also takes a large interest in adolescent development and literacy while helping students develop writing skills through the scaffolding of grammar to written text. She has helped develop department wide curriculum for her writing courses at the college. She has a Masters Degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University.

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