West Jersey Astronomical Society  Last updated 1.24.2018

Regular Club Meeting Site

NE Philadelphia Airport Clear Sky Chart:

Our regular meeting site is the Virtua Health and Wellness Center at 401 Young Avenue, Moorestown, NJ, 08057. This is now our regular meeting location! It is adjacent to the Centerton Square Shopping Center in Mt. Laurel, NJ (Wegmans, Target, Costco, etc.), and near the interchange of Interstate 295 with Route 38. Click the "Show Map" button at the Virtua link for directions. The security guard at the main entrance will direct you to the meeting room.

January 2017 (update January 2018) -- The directions to these various observing sites in the NJ Pinelands, especially those in State Forests (e.g., Atsion, Batsto, Carranza) are presented mainly for historical purposes. Nighttime accessibility under current NJ DEP regulations is apparently disallowed, except for official Public Star Watches at Batsto and Atsion, and WAS Member Star Watches at Atsion. Do do not interpret these directions as permission to use any of the sites at will.



Batsto Village - NJ (see accessibility note above)


Batsto Clear Sky Chart:

From the west, take Rt 30 (the White Horse Pike) east to Hammonton, NJ. About 1.4 miles past the intersection of Rt 206, just before Hammonton Lake, turn left onto Rt 542 (542 is variously known as Pleasant Mills Road, Nesco Rd and Batsto Rd).

Alternatively, take the Atlantic City Expressway to Exit 28 for Hammonton. At the exit, make a left onto Rt 54 north and go 2 miles to "downtown" Hammonton where you turn right onto Rt 542 (Central Ave) towards Batsto. Go about 1.7 miles to Rt 30, then make a right at the traffic light. Go 150 yards and make a left onto 542.

From Rt 30, continue east on 542 for about 7 miles to Batsto Village which is on your left after a sweeping curve. The entrance road is marked with a large sign and a flagpole. After turning left onto the entrance road, proceed about 1/4 mile, then turn left towards the Visitor Center. Our star watches are conducted on the large field on your left before reaching the Visitor Center. If you don't have a scope, park in the paved lot in front of the Visitor Center. Here's a  satellite view of the observing site.

Click the Batsto Village link above for the Wharton State Forest web site; it has a link for Mapquest directions.

The GPS coordinates for Batsto are:  39 deg 38 min 37 sec North,  74 deg 38 min 45 sec West.




Franklin Parker Preserve


Coyle Field Clear Sky Chart:

Franklin Parker Preserve is owned by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. The entrance for astronomical events is on Rt. 532, just west of Chatsworth Lake (the Chatsworth Lake Entrance, click here for NJCF's directions). This private site is not available for observing at will.

From the Four Mile Circle (the junction of Routes 70 & 72), take Rt 72 east for 3.5 miles to Rt 563 south towards Chatsworth. Go 3.8 miles to Rt 532 (at the Chatsworth firehouse) and turn right. Go 1.1 miles, and just past Chatsworth Lake, the road curves right. The entrance road will be on the left immediately after the curve. There will be temporary signs in place.

From the Red Lion Circle (the junction of Routes 70 & 206), take Rt 206 south for 1.2 miles to Carranza Rd (on the left). Go down Carranza Rd for 2.2 miles to Rt 532 at the four-way stop in Tabernacle. Go left and take Rt 532 east for 9.2 miles to the curve just before Chatsworth Lake. The entrance road will be on the right (with temporary signs in place). If you pass a large lake on the left, you missed it. There might be enough room to turn around along the lake, but there's plenty of room to turn around a little further down at the firehouse.


Click here for a large-scale annotated road map — the spot marked "NJCF Sky Tour" is the destination. Click here for a live satellite map centered on the entrance. Click here for an annotated close-up satellite map of the Chatsworth area, the entrance and the observing site.


The GPS coordinates for FPP are:  39 deg 48 min 37 sec North,  74 deg 33 min 00 sec West



Atsion Field (see accessibility note at top of page)

Carranza Field Clear Sky Chart:

Atsion Field is in Wharton State Forest and is on the east side of Rt 206 about 10 miles south of the Red Lion Circle (the junction of Rts 206 & 70) or 8 miles north of Rt 30 (the White Horse Pike) in Hammonton, NJ. To access the field, enter from Rt 206 through an opening in the guard rail about 150 yd north of Atsion/Quaker Bridge Rd. Here's a satellite view of the field. The address of the Ranger Station in front of the field is 744 Route 206, Shamong, NJ, 08088.

As in the Batsto directions, one could take the Atlantic City Expressway to Exit 28 for Hammonton, but after exiting and turning left onto 54, continue north through downtown Hammonton past Rt 542 until you reach Rt 30 (about 3.2 miles from the exit). After crossing Rt 30, Rt 54 becomes Rt 206, then it's 8 miles to Atsion.

The GPS coordinates for Atsion Field are:  39 deg 44 min 32 sec North,  74 deg 43 min 28 sec West



Coyle Field

Coyle Field Clear Sky Chart:  

Coyle Field is not currently accessible to astronomical observers (as of mid-January 2017) due to the demise of the Coyle Field Astronomers organization. Efforts are underway to re-establish access, but until then, observers should not use the Field as they would be trespassing, even if they have legacy credentials! A notice will be posted here when such access is again available.

Coyle Field is an observing site that had been used by WAS members (and a number of other regional astronomy clubs). It is a vast open space in the West Plain Pygmy Pines of the New Jersey Pinelands.

To get there from the west (Philadelphia or the nearby New Jersey suburbs), take Rt 70 east to the Four Mile Circle, which is the junction of NJ Routes Rts 70  & 72. Take Rt 72 east off the circle (towards Manahawkin / Long Beach Island). Go about 10.5 miles, slow down and be ready to pull off when you pass a service building set back on the right. You'll then see a Smokey-the-Bear sign on the right. About 100 yards past the sign on the right, take the sand road that veers off at a 45-degree angle (not the sand road that turns off at a right angle just after the sign). The 45-degree angle sand entrance road is obvious by the gate with a "Stop" sign. After unlocking the gate (if necessary) and closing it behind you without locking it, go down the entrance road about 1/4 mile and it will curve sharply right onto the runway. After clearing the trees, bear right and take the two-track road that parallels the runway (do not drive on the runway -- astronomers must not leave tracks or ruts that might interfere with the model airplanes!). To park, back up onto the grass strip between the runway and the two-track, then set up on the runway within 15 ft of the grass strip.

Here's a road map showing the general location of Coyle Field. Here's a satellite view of the field with the entrance road and set-up spot marked. Here's a bird's-eye view of the observing area.

The sand shoulder on Rt 72, the sand entrance road and the two--track sand road, as well as the runway where we set up, are all firm and are no problem to negotiate with an ordinary automobile (four-wheel drive is unnecessary). The shoulder on Rt 72, and the transition to the entrance road can be a little bumpy, so take it easy. Also, where the entrance road curves right onto the field, a narrower branch goes straight -- don't go down there, it turns into sugar sand and you will need 4WD!

The GPS coordinates for Coyle Field are:  39 deg 48 min 47 sec North,  74 deg 25 min 20 sec West




Carranza Field (see accessibility note at top of page)

Carranza Field Clear Sky Chart: 

Carranza Field is a site in Wharton State Forest, NJ. There are several "back ways" there, but a good starting point for first-timers is the Red Lion Circle (the junction of Rts 70 and 206). Take Rt 206 south for 1.1 miles to the turn-off for Carranza Rd on the left. Go 2.2 miles to the four-way stop in Tabernacle. Go straight at the stop sign and continue down Carranza Rd for another 6.7 miles to the Batona Campground sign on the left (across from the Carranza Memorial). Note: As of 2012, the Batona Campground sign has vanished, so just look for the sand road on the left immediately past the memorial.

Turn left onto the sand road, go 1/4 mile and it will turn sharply right at the campground; continue another 1/4 mile to the field that will be on your right. The entrance is through the "sand trap," which should be negotiable for 4WD vehicles; otherwise, there are a couple of firmer paths to the field through the trees about 50 and 25 yd before the sand trap. Once on the field, be careful of the fire trenches visible in the satellite view; they may or may not be negotiable, even with 4WD.

If after passing the Memorial, Carranza Rd turns abruptly unpaved, you've missed the turnoff to the campground. Turn around and go back a quarter mile, then turn right off Carranza Rd to head towards the campground and proceed as noted above.

Here's a satellite view of the field; the Carranza Memorial is just above the triple row of sand parking areas at the bottom.

Note: About 5 miles from the four-way stop, you'll pass the Youth Correction Center ("Costello Preparatory Academy"). After another quarter mile, just after the second bridge from the Youth Center, the road very deceptively bears sharply left. Slow down as you approach the second bridge, otherwise you'll end up in the sand at the "Nasty Turn."

The GPS coordinates for Carranza Field are:  39 deg 46 min 52 sec North, 74 deg 37 min 41 sec West




Cherry Springs State Park

CSSP Clear Sky Chart: 

Click here for Jim Mack's directions and maps as presented at the August 5, 2011, meeting. GPS coordinates are available at the CSSP link above. Here's a map of the field at CSSP. Check with the Pennsylvania DEP for accessibility and costs associated with using CSSP.