WSO History, Mission, and Operation

The mission of the Werner Schmidt Observatory is to promote education and science by encouraging participation in the field of astronomy.

The idea to build an observatory on Cape Cod originated in 1986, at the return of Comet Halley when several amateur astronomers came together to form the Cape Cod Astronomical Society. In those early days CCAS built a 14 inch telescope to be shared by the members.  Over the years it traveled back and forth among the towns on the Cape serving to illuminate the sky for students at several schools, visitors from Nickerson State Park, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and the National Seashore.

In 1989 the Cape Cod Astronomical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organization, was established.  Trustees were elected from CCAS to raise funds, and upon completion, manage the observatory.  One of several key participants in the early years of the Foundation, Werner Schmidt,  assumed the chairmanship in 1990 and worked with D-Y High School to have it become the site of the observatory.  Construction began in the fall of 2003, and the Werner Schmidt Observatory was dedicated April 30, 2004.

The Cape Cod Astronomical Foundation maintains the observatory and equipment from charitable donations. Charitable donations allow us to provide an  environment of high grade equipment to students, members of the society, and the community at large. Keeping the equipment operational and exploring new methods to investigate and promote astronomy at the observatory requires financial resources and the commitment of a dedicated staff of volunteers. If you would like to contribute, either financially or as a volunteer, please contact us!

Additionally, the observatory requires supplies like batteries, tools, cleaning materials, and parts. These minor operational and maintenance items are partially funded by Amazon. The AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. You can link to our organization with Please help support this effort which presently yields $10-$20 per month at no cost!