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Will the World End on December 21st?


The Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. Will the world end, too?

Should we even bother doing our Holiday shopping and baking?

On Saturday, December 8th, the Amateur Astronomers, Inc., will dedicate an entire evening’s workshops to discussing this topic. The talks start at 8 pm with “The End of the World – But Don’t Lose Any Sleep On It.” At 9:00, Chabot Space and Science Center will present “Tales of the Maya Skies.” A third talk, “Tales of the Maya,” will begin at 9:40.

The talks will be held at Sperry Observatory on the Cranford campus of Union County College. Observing through the 10″ and 24″ telescopes at Sperry will be available all night.

Al Witzgall, long time member of Amateur Astronomers, Inc., will give a talk on this subject on Saturday, December 21st, at 8pm. Join us at Sperry Observatory, which is located on the Cranford campus of Union County College, to hear Al’s take on whether the Mayans were foretelling doom so many years ago.

For more information, email or go to the webpage at

What’s your Union County teen doing this summer?

Do you know about Union County College’s summer program for teenagers?

UCC offers great ways for your child to learn and grow this summer – please click here for more information!

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The sky is NOT the limit!

In 1949 a group of astronomy enthusiast gathered to discuss their ideas and interests. Soon regular observing nights and meetings followed. After incorporating as Amateur Astronomers, Inc. they began meeting at various places throughout Union County. In the mid 1960’s they began meeting at Union Junior College (now Union County College). Due to a large donation from the Beinecke family in Cranford, the club in conjunction with the college agreed to build a world class Observatory on the Cranford Campus. On May 21, 1967 the William Miller Sperry Observatory was formally dedicated. The observatory was named for Mrs. Beinecke’s grandfather, of Sperry and Hutchinson (green stamps) fame.

Now the Sperry Observatory is one of the finest amateur astronomical facilities in the world. It houses 2 permanently mounted telescopes, a 10″ refractor made by club members and a 24″ reflector (the 3rd largest telescope in NJ). Besides the telescopes the facility houses an optical/machine shop, computer facilities, library, merchandising area, multimedia facility and a classroom.

Currently the club consists of nearly 300 members. They open the observatory to the public every Friday evening. If the skies are clear the telescopes are opened for observing showing off the moon, planets and the stars. Clear or cloudy each Friday night features a lecture (beginner level) on space or astronomy topic. The 3rd Friday (September to May) meetings are held in the Roy Smith Auditorium where a speakers are brought in to speak on various astronomical topics. Additional classes are available to members of club to learn how to operate the large telescopes, as well as other subjects.

The club runs their public nights as a service to the community and all activities are free of charge. Anyone can come out take advantage of everything that this great hidden gem has to offer.

The Observatory is located near the rear of the campus, at 1033 Springfield Avenue, Cranford. For further information you can visit AAI’s website by clicking here.

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