NYSkies Astronomy Inc
The support service for home astronomy in New York




NYC Events


    Top of the Lawn, more commonly called "TotL" (pronounced 
"total"), is a loose association of urban astronomy enthusiasts 
who gather on the northern perimeter path of Central Park's 
Great Lawn. The core group of sidewalk astronomers is equipped 
with binoculars, telescopes, and a passion for sharing our 
skies. We are in the Park all year round to observe each season's 
sky, typically on clear weekend nights.
    In addition to the TotL team, there are regular visitors that 
include dog walkers, cyclists, and pedestrians. These folks come 
by with such regularity that they learned the fundamental motions 
of the night sky and how to identify various targets in the sky. 
However, all visitors are welcome to stop by for peeks and chat.
    For further information you can contact Peter Tagatac at 
'tags_p {AT} yahoo {DOT} com' or visit 'topofthelawn.blogspot.com'.
    Defying popular belief, there are many celestial delights to 
see with the eye and small optics. Many objects are challenged by 
high background sky brightness. Others, like the Milky Way, can be 
veiled from sight. Despite this impediment, TotL members help you 
find the brighter objects in the sky, by eye and optics, and 
provide some details about them. 
    In general, solar system bodies are easy to follow from the 
city. They include the Moon, planets, major comets, and larger 
asteroids.  Man-made objects can be easy to observe, like 
International Space Station, Space Shuttle, Iridium flares, and 
large space capsules from other countries. 
    We can see many bright open clusters, double stars, planetary 
stars, some nebulae, and globular clusters. Their number and 
place in the sky vary with the season. Our city sky challenges 
most galaxies beyond the Milky Way, yet the great Andromeda 
Galaxy can be observed in optics as small as binoculars. 
    TotL members gather for the informal purpose of sharing our 
fascination for the night sky. Passersby are captivated by the 
vastness of space and distances to other worlds. They look into 
the eyepiece with awe and wonder. For our group, these reactions 
and expressed interest are reward enough to share with the public.
    At a visit to TotL, we can help with the following:
- getting started 
- learn how to get your earings in the sky
- how to use a planisphere
- identify constellations and asterisms
- how to find various deep sky objects
- what to consider when buying equipment
- how to use your binoculars or telescope
- tricks and tips with daytime observing 
    Just show up - with or without optics. Travel instructions and 
the map below detail our location in Central Park. We just ask 
that you respect our equipment and be considerate of others. No 
expert knowledge is required; an interest and positive attitude 
are helpful.
    Look for us at the northern perimeter sidewalk of the Great Lawn, 
Central Park. That is approximately at 85th St. in the middle of the 
park. One can enter the park on the westside from Hunter's Gate at 
Central Park West (CPW) & 81st St. or Mariner's Gate at CPW & 85th 
St. at the north side of each entrance, follow the sidewalk straight 
into the park, crossing the road, West Drive, towards the Great Lawn. 
    The M10 bus stops nearby at 84th and CPW and the B & C subways 
stop at 86th and CPW. 
    If one enters the park from the east, use the entrances north or 
south of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and walk westward along the 
path. From the southern entrance one crosses East Drive under the 
bridge. From the sidewalk north of the "Met", one follows the 
sidewalk into the park and crosses East Drive. The sidewalk continues, 
leading into the Great Lawn.  
    M1, M2, and other buses run south and stops around 84th & 5th Ave 
while the 4, 5, or 6 subway stops at 86th & Lexington Ave.
    Once you arrive, walk north on the perimeter sidewalk around the 
Great Lawn. We'll be at the top, or maybe a little further east.
    This map indicates meeting places relative to the Great Lawn, 
Central Park. The red circle indicates our primary meeting place. There 
are some events where the horizon is more favorable when observed from 
the blue circles, for example lunar eclipses from Turtle Pond Observatory.

A Google map is found here: 'maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en

Last update on 15 June 2009

 Copyright 2007, NYSkies Astronomy Inc    General inquiries: nyskies@nyskies.org