Stockton University is reopening a long-dormant observatory this month, after its closure about 15 years ago.

Associate Physics Professor Joseph Trout says the Harold E. Taylor Observatory in Galloway is reopening thanks to the efforts of a group of Stockton students.

"There's many stories as to why it closed. Part of it was that they thought there was too much light pollution because the area is now beginning to build up," he said.

Six students worked hard to get it back in shape. Trout says Miriam Saad got the ball rolling on the reopening as an undergrad.

"She came to me and said, 'Can we open up the observatory?' And I went to the dean and asked him and he was in full support of it," Trout said.

Saad graduated Stockton in 2018. But Courtney Weber, Colleen Lindenau, Gracie Buondonno, Briena Feltner and Tara Jacobsen picked up where she left off.

Trout says they have come a long way since the beginning of the restoration.

"We went to see what it would look like and we opened the door and it was in pieces on the floor. That dome had been used for storage. But the students seemed undeterred ."

Harold E. Taylor, was a physics professor at Stockton for 30 years and one of the school's original faculty members.

The first public event for the reopened observatory will be on Nov. 14 by reservation.

"As special events come up in the sky, we will open and we'll have opening observing for the public to look at them," Trout said.

The observatory features an updated camera and guidance system.

Reservations can be made online at

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story should have said that the observatory closed about 15 years after being in operation for 30 years.

Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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