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    • “Astronomy is the science of the universe,” says Dr. Joel Moskowitz, with a sparkle in his eye.

      It was a once-every-75-years occurrence that prompted Joel to take his childhood fascination with space a step further. “I joined the Long Island Amateur Astronomy Club in 1985 to see Halley’s Comet. After that, I wanted to see more comets, and after that, I wanted to find out what else was out there. That was my awakening.”

      Ever since then, discovery has been all about adventure for Joel. “With astronomy there are no limits or boundaries. When you start looking through a telescope and you start realizing the vastness of the universe, every piece of knowledge leads to more questions.”

      What makes Joel unique among other amateur astronomers is that he has made his own telescope. A big one, too. For a while, it was the largest amateur telescope in the country.

      "As a physician I need a vehicle that can reliably get me to where I need to be. As an amateur astronomer, I need a vehicle that can get me to where I want to be."

      Dr. Joel Moskowitz, Physician and Amateur Astronomer

      “We built our house around it. I had certain width parameters I needed to get it from the basement and into the garage. I guess you could say astronomy has taken over a good part of my life.”

      Every week, Joel loads his telescope, which weighs around 400 lbs and stands at 11 ft fully assembled, into his trailer and hooks it up to his Land Rover Discovery. He travels to a “star party,” often on the northern tip of Long Island, to meet his fellow astronomers, who are armed with their own telescopes. “It’s a chance for all the amateurs to get together and look at the stars, the galaxies and the nebulae.”

      These parties are more than gatherings to exchange galaxy gossip. The members have become close friends. They go to each other’s houses for dinners and family celebrations. For Joel, the star parties offer another very important opportunity: to share his greatest adventures. “We invite our extended families, friends and members of the public. For me, passing on the knowledge of astronomy is a true wonder.”

      “Adventure is a sense of discovery. Going to new places, meeting new people and seeing new things in the cosmos.”

      Dr. Joel Moskowitz, Physician and Amateur Astronomer

      His first lesson for every new amateur is always the same. “Start out with a pair of binoculars and look at the sky.”

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