Brief History of the Farash Center in Ionia, NY
The Marian and Max Farash Center for Observational Astronomy consists of an education center, maintenance building and 6 working observatories on a 17 acre plot of land just off route 64 in the hamlet of Ionia, NY. The property was donated to the Rochester Academy of Science in 1988 by Max Farash to be used for observational astronomy. The Center has been developed considerably since that time through generous donations from the Wolk Foundation, Farash Foundation and from private individuals.
Our main building, the Louis Wolk Education Center, contains a large classroom, library, kitchen, computer center, 2 restrooms, a lounge and a large deck. Two of our observatories contain large aperture telescopes suitable for viewing deep sky objects under the dark skies of Ionia. One telescope is more specialized for lunar and planetary observations and two telescopes are computer driven and usually dedicated to astrophotography. In 2012, a new building was constructed and dedicated to solar astronomy. There are numerous concrete pads located on the grounds complete with electric power for members who wish to bring their own equipment. The property has a number of marked hiking trails and offers camping to family and scouting groups. A brief time-line of developments is shown below.
1988 – Max Farash donates a parcel of land to the Rochester Academy of
Science to be used for observational astronomy.
1997 – An access road is opened and the construction of the education
building is started.
2001 – The first observatory is constructed for the 16” Cave reflector.
2001 – A small domed observatory is built and contains a 12” telescope
that can be computer controlled.
2003 – A maintenance building is built to house mowers and ground keeping
2004 – The Farash Observatory is constructed. This observatory, complete
with “warm room” houses a 10” telescope and computer driven mount. This facility is mainly used for astrophotography.
2005 – A deck is added to the education center.
2009 – The Tinsley Observatory is built. This observatory houses a 12” Cassigrain
telescope and is mainly used for lunar and planetary viewing and
2009 – The Wolk Observatory is built and houses a 20” reflecting telescope on an
2011 – A small storage unit is added to the education center to house a 17.5”
Reflector on a Dobsonian mount. It is used for visual observations from the
The deck area.
2012 - A solar observatory was built for observing the sun in the
continuum & in hydrogen-alpha.
2013 – This year marks the 25th anniversary of the land being donated for the