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County, Howard Astronomical League partner for Alpha Ridge observatory

An astronomy observatory is among the new additions coming to Alpha Ridge Park in Marriottsville.

The observatory is part of the Howard Astronomical League’s public outreach efforts to encourage the community to learn more about astronomical science in a direct, hands-on manner, according to a release announcing the project. It will feature a dome 15 feet in diameter, Watson telescope and an observing platform.

One of the structure’s four walls will be used as a projection screen to view live images captured by the telescope and for educational presentations.

“The Astronomical League is a great organization, and this project will help bring the wonder and beauty of our space to residents,” County Executive Ken Ulman said in the release. “This project is a great educational resource and an example of the type of partnership that helps our community.”

Other improvements coming to the park include a comfort station and parking lot improvements. Construction on the project began in January and is scheduled for completion in July.

The cost of the project for the comfort station, parking lot improvements and foundation for the observatory is about $843,000. That doesn’t include the cost of the actual observatory, as the Howard Astronomical League is paying for that, county officials said.

Officials said construction could cause delays in traffic within the park 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Pedestrian paths may also be blocked.

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