The Gayle H. Riggsbee Observatory (GHRO)

GHRO is one of the largest amateur observatories on the East Coast.

The observatory has telescopes that are available for use by club members after they have been trained in their proper use and care.

These telecopes include an 8 inch f/15 Alvan Clark Refractor, a 16 inch f/10 cassegrain, a 24 inch F/5 newtonian, and a 102mm Lunt H-Alpha solar telescope.

In addition, there is the Ken Steiner Outreach Center which includes a classroom, a warm-up room with microwave ovens and refrigerator, rest rooms, and a shower.

The picnic pavilion which includes a gas grill is a great place to have dinner and host star parties before an observing session.

Yard Games such as Corn Hole, Frisbee, Badminton, Volley Ball are available for family daytime fun.

RV and Tent Camping sites are available for member’s use.

Gigabit speed wireless internet (WiFi) covers the site.


16 Inch F/10 Cassegrain

The 16 inch is a very good general purpose telescope. Planetary and deep sky objects are outstanding when viewed with the telescope.

8 Inch F/15 Alvan Clark

This 8″ refractor is excellent for planetary viewing. The optics were made by the legendary Alvan Clark & Sons which made the optics for many of the observatories built in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

24 Inch F/5 Newtonian

The 24 inch is the largest telescope at GHRO. The large aperture offers outstanding deep sky viewing. The scope has goto and tracking capabilities.

102mm Lunt Solar Telescope

Lunt is famous for making solar telescopes. By observing the sun in hydrogen alpha light, many features on the surface of the sun and prominences may be seen.


Ken Steiner Outreach Center

The outreach center houses a warming room, kitchen, restrooms, and a classroom.

Kitchen and Warming

This is an excellent place to warm up when the weather is cold.

Member Pads

There is a concrete pad for all members to share and some members have their own pad was well as personal observatories.

RV and Camping Sites

Camping sites that include water and electricity are available at the observatory.

Star Parties

GHRO has regular star parties where club members come together for food, fellowship, and observing. Often when the weather is good a meal will be served before the observing begins.


There are many opportunities for learning at GHRO. School groups, scout groups, and the general public frequently visit to learn more about astronomy.

What’s up and Conditions

There are several things that you might want to check before you visit. Be sure to check out the full sky camera, the clear sky forecast, the weather, and what can be seen tonight. You can also preview the night with the free online Stellarium sky charts. You can also print out the Mag-7 star atlas.

Telescope Training

Attending a telescope training session is required before members can use the club telescopes. Usually training sessions are offered every month or so by the observatory director. Check the club newsletter for more information.

Private Observatories and Pads

Many members have built their own observatories at GHRO that are for their personal use. Some members also have their own assigned concrete pads. Here is an example of some.

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