Building Code O
Spencer Hill Campus
Corning, NY 14830

Welcome to the Eileen Collins Observatory!


Open the first and third Fridays, December 2 and 16, 8pm-10pm, weather permitting.


ECAS Meeting and Lecture on "Vagaries of Distance" by Gary Fitzpatrick

Friday, December 2, 2016 at 7:30pm

How far it is from one place on the earth to another is not a question with a straight forward answer.  In his career at the Library of Congress, Mr. Fitzpatrick was the acknowledged specialist for many years when it came to answering distance questions posed by individuals, news organizations and Members of Congress.  The frequency of such questions led him to compile a widely adopted reference book for the library profession, Direct-Line Distances.  In this presentation, Mr. Fitzpatrick will relate examples of the many types of distance questions he encountered and explore some of the issues in which questions of distance are both central and contentious.  He asks you that before coming, you determine the distance from Los Angeles to Honolulu: results will be compared and analyzed. The measurement of terrestrial distances has also been integrated with astronomical observations in the creation of geodetic networks, the framework for many scientific, civic, and commercial activities for nearly three centuries.  

Mr. Fitzpatrick is retired from the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, where he worked from 1970 to 2004.  In addition to several reference works for the library profession, Mr. Fitzpatrick authored The Early Mapping of Hawaii (1986) and coauthored two other works on the cartographic history of Hawaii: Surveying the Mahele, and Mapping the Lands and Waters of Hawaii. His interest in the Pacific also manifested itself in co-curating Surveyors of The Pacific, a major Library of Congress exhibit that complemented the Smithsonian’s exhibition Magnificent Voyagers, a survey of the work of the U. S. Exploring Expedition.

The meeting is open to the general public and is free to all. Please park in the lower student lot or the Planetarium parking lot as (the parking next to the Observatory is reserved accessible parking).


We have many types and sizes of telescopes here at our Observatory. Our two largest telescopes are both reflectors - the 20" and the 16". Our 20" telescope is the one-tenth scale model of the Hale Telescope at Mount Palomar in California. We also have 14", 12", 10", 8", and 6" reflectors that were built by members of the Elmira-Corning Astronomical Society. We have 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain reflectors in addition to 4" refractors and a solar telescope. All of these telescopes are on display at the Observatory. Some of them can be used by the public during our Friday night observing sessions.

If you have any questions, please call the Observatory at 607-962-9494 or email Deborah Dann, Director of the Observatory, at dann@corning-cc.edu.