by Cassie Lipp
81 days ago
Posted In: Culture
at 12:00 PM | Permalink
To the naked eye, there are not very many stars visible in the
Cincinnati night sky. However, a look through one of Cincinnati Observatory’s telescopes
on a clear day makes it possible to catch a glimpse of the galaxy. It’s no
wonder that the observatory’s assistant director and outreach astronomer Dean
Regas says the most common reaction from visitors is "Wow."Watching folks look through a telescope for the first time is his favorite part
of the job. “They put their eye up to the telescope, and their eyes literally
light up,” Regas says. “The light comes from millions to trillions of miles
away through the telescope, down the tube, into their eye, and you can see
their eyes light up.” He says visitors’ entire faces will then relax into a
Most people do not know what to expect when they walk into Cincinnati
Observatory. In fact, Regas himself didn’t know what to expect when he first
visited the observatory in 1998 when he attended an event to view a comet
“It’s a very intimate moment with the universe. I think we really excite
people’s imaginations a lot,” he says. “They see a bigger picture of things, in
Sparking this interest in the universe is at the core of the observatory’s
mission. Since it opened to the public in 2000, the observatory has been
dedicated to educating all generations and preserving the history of the site.
While it is the first major observatory in the Western Hemisphere, it is also
home to the oldest public telescope in the U.S. Built in Germany in 1843, the
telescope was first located in Mount Adams on the highest point in Cincinnati.
(Just picture 173 years’ worth of eyeballs peering out into space as you look
through the telescope).
However, coal smoke and other pollution flooding the valley made it impossible
to look at the sky. The telescope was moved to a more remote, rural area for
optimal viewing in 1873.
It’s because of the telescope that two of Cincinnati’s seven hills go their
names. The telescope’s former home got its name when John Quincy Adams
dedicated the observatory, and the land surrounding the telescope’s new home
was dubbed Mount Lookout.
The telescope is now house in a smaller building on the observatory’s property,
while a telescope purchased in 1904 is housed in the main building. Both are
still in use.
Before opening to the public in 2000, the observatory had long been neglected
and was seldom in use. “It was hard to notice the creepy building at the end of
the street,” Regas says. “It looked like it was abandoned — trees were all over
the place, ivy was growing on the buildings — it was black because of the
pollution, and they used the telescopes maybe a dozen times a year.”
The old building came back to life when neighborhood residents and a group of
amateur astronomers teamed up to reinvigorate the observatory. Yet with its
old-fashioned wood floors and furnishings, stepping into the observatory is
like taking a leap back in time. Since its rebirth, attendance at the
observatory has gone from 1,000 visitors per year to 26,000.
“To think that there are institutions like this in our city makes it a richer
city,” Regas says.
In addition to being open to the public every Thursday and Friday, there are
many different classes offered at the observatory, including programs for beginners
and continuing education classes for adults. It is a destination for many
school field trips and special events such as Moon-day Monday and Late Night
Date Night. Regas says many events become sold out within seconds of the signup
being uploaded to the observatory’s website.
Visitors can look forward to special events each time planets move to their
optimal viewing positions, with Jupiter Night on March 12, Marsapalooza on June
11 and Saturnday on July 9. You can also take classes at the observatory to
learn how to map out the plants’ movements yourself. Whether you’d like to take
classes, catch a glimpse of space or just take a tour of the historic building,
that building at the end of a cul-de-sac in Mount Lookout that you never
noticed has something for everyone.
information on the CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY: cincinnatiobservatory.org.
Three CityBeat staffers do things on bikes they'd normally do in a car
0 Comments · Thursday, May 2, 2013
A surprising thing happens when you carve out
some time in your schedule to travel by bike, even if you’re not an
expert — it’s a lot less complicated than it seems, and it’s likely to
be a lot more fun than you expect.
Mount Lookout Square bar highlights tricked-out sausages, craft beer and desserts
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Now a month old, Wurst Bar in the Square fulfills its vision of a hip yet casual watering hole offering a well-rounded menu of inventive starters and soups, gourmet sausages, hamburgers and decadent desserts.
1 Comment · Wednesday, March 14, 2012
To anyone who knew late veteran musician/promoter Johnny Schott,
it should be no surprise that there will be a huge “Commemorative
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Schott was not only a kind soul, but he assisted and mentored many local
Japanese spot on Mount Lookout Square offers great service, presentation and flavor
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I have to say one of the best dining experiences I've had in the past couple of years was at Ichiban, which has replaced Aqua in Mount Lookout Square. Maybe it was the impeccable and watchful service or the fact that the chef managed to make everything without soy (I'm allergic) and still make it delicious (I had no idea that sake could become so many different sauces). Maybe it was the complimentary dessert at the end: puffed pastry with delicate freshly whipped cream. Or maybe it was just the company.