Stephen F. Wessling Observatory
The Stephen F. Wessling Observatory is located 6 miles north of the city of Fremont, Michigan, on the corner of Baseline and Stone Road. The Observatory is located on the Kropscott Farm donated to the Newaygo Conservation District by Earle and Mildred Kropscott.
In conjunction with the Kropscott Environmental Center, SFW Observatory’s goal is to provide local area amateur astronomers the opportunity to observe and study the amazing universe in which we live.
The Observatory was made possible through numerous grants and donations by private citizens and area organizations such as the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Fremont Area Community Foundation, the Gerber Foundation, and the Amazing X Foundation.
As a part of the Kropscott Environmental Center, the SFW Observatory’s goal is to provide the general public, area students, and local and regional amateur astronomers the opportunity to observe and study the amazing universe in which we live. Newaygo County is blessed with ‘dark skies’, therefore interested people from West Michigan, Northern Indiana and Eastern Illinois also visit the observatory to take advantage of the dark skies.
The observatory contains numerous telescopes of various designs and sizes including an 18” Obsession reflector, the 12.5” Raymond B. Larson telescope donated to the NCD by the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association, and a variety of 6” to 10” computerized and non-computerized reflecting telescopes. All of these are available for the public to view and personally operate with the assistance of the Newaygo County Dark Sky Astronomers.
The KFEC is provided with high speed internet by Newaygo County Advanced Technology Services (NCATS). Directed by Dr. Larry Ivens, this service allowed on-line radio astronomy research to begin in 2012, with the addition of an on-site antenna installation in April. Data from Jupiter and the sun was downloaded directly to the Grand Valley State University computer for analysis. Additional research is ongoing.