There aren't many hotels with their own private observatory where guests have access to night-sky viewing of bright constellations or some of the largest moons in the solar system. But Fisher Island Hotel & Resort isn’t like other hotels. During your next visit, take the opportunity to view deep sky objects on a clear night in a private viewing experience at the Victor Arsidi Observatory.
The museum-quality facility, featuring a custom-made Ash Dome and professional telescope equipment, was built in 1990 from a donation by Mr. Arsidi for the use of the island residents, club members and hotel guests.
At Fisher Island Hotel & Resort, there's a world of opportunities to view deep sky objects.
Brian Hightower, the IT Manager at Fisher Island Club, curates the observatory experience for guests. "There are two telescopes," he explains. "With the four-inch refractor scope, guests can look at star clusters or get a view of Jupiter's moons or the rings of Saturn with the naked eye." The four-inch telescope is a hands-on experience for guests, where they can delight in the sights of deep sky objects, such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Ring Nebula.
With the observatory's stronger telescope, a 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain, the great beyond comes into view with the use of a digital camera, which layers the images one on top of the other, then displays the pictures on a television screen display.
"When you first see the Orion Nebula this way it looks grayish, then as the images begin to layer, it gets more colorful. This is the 'wow' moment for visitors to the observatory," says Brian, who boasts that the stars align just right on Fisher Island. "The darkest skies we have are to our south and east, which is right where Orion sits and is smack dab in the perfect spot for our viewing."
The observatory is open from November through March. Appointments are required, and weather-permitting. To learn more about Fisher Island Hotel & Resort, or to schedule an appointment at the observatory, please contact the concierge upon making a reservation.