In 1973, the Kopernik Polish Cultural Society of Broome
County organized in order to build a community observatory as a memorial
to Mikolaj Kopernik. The Society's goal was for everyone in the region,
regardless of ethnic background, to experience the universe firsthand at
the new Kopernik Observatory. The Kopernik Society secured donations
of materials, services and funds from the community and planned for construction
to begin in the fall of 1973. General Contractor Edward Nezelek,
a major supporter of the project, completed the observatory in the spring
of 1974. When the Observatory was opened to the public in June of
that year, the Kopernik Society donated the facility to the people of the
Southern Tier to be operated by the Roberson Museum and Science Center
as part of Roberson's educational initiative and to complement the major
planetarium already in operation at its Binghamton site.
With major support from the Kopernik Society, the Decker Foundation, and many other community organizations, Roberson undertook a $1.5 million expansion of the Observatory to create the Kopernik Space Education Center in 1993.
The new Kopernik Center created a complex of technology labs designed specifically for youngsters in grades K-12. The Kopernik Space Education Center is not only one of the best public observatories in the East, but also an outstanding science training facility unmatched in New York State.
From its humble beginnings, the Kopernik Observatory has become a major center for science education helping thousands of young people reach for the stars...