by Cassie Lipp
80 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.
by Mike Breen
Killer triple Indie/New Wave-ish bill at Oakley's 20th Century Theater tonight
A stellar triple bill featuring an Indie fave and a pair of hot up-and-comers takes over Oakley's 20th Century Theater tonight. Tickets still remain, which is kind of ridiculous considering how ridiculously strong the lineup is. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $20 in advance (here) or $23 at the door.Chicago-based, new-wavey buzz band California Wives released its full-length debut, Art History, on Vagrant in early September to tons of glowing reviews from the likes of Paste, Rolling Stone, Billboard and even Seventeen. The band's video for "Purple" (a promo deal with Sharpie, apparently) debuted during the recent MTV Video Music Awards. Fans of We Are Scientists should approve.Also performing is Diamond Rings, the solo guise of Toronto's John O'Regan. With a look that's part Miley Cyrus with her new ’do and part Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Rings makes catchy Snyth Pop and AltRock. The new Diamond Rings album Free Dimensional will be released through EMI on Oct. 23. Here's the first single from the album, "I'm Just Me." (Read more from CityBeat here.)Canada's Stars headline the night; the group is currently touring behind its new album, The North, which came out Sept. 4 on Dave Matthews' ATO Records. The band came up as buddies of Broken Social Scene; the groups even shared members early on. But with Stars' stunning Set Yourself on Fire, the band really came into its own with an eclectic, rich, buzzing Indie Pop sound that's hard to resist. The new album adds a bit more of an Electro vibe, something gradually built upon over Stars' six album releases. Give a listen to the new album's "The Theory of Relativity" below.
0 Comments · Sunday, July 18, 2010
By way of historical context, Laurie Anderson's last studio album, 'Life on a String,' was released a month before 9/11, largely written and recorded in the earliest months of Bush Lite's first term. On her new album, 'Homeland,' she proves again to be an astute commentator on the state of America (and the world). Even better, Anderson hasn't lost one iota of musical passion and provides an invigorating soundtrack for her fascinating travelogue.
Afro-Cuban All Stars tour U.S. to bring 'a piece of happiness'
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2009
There’s rarely a chance these days to witness musicians who represent both the roots and evolution of a genre.
In the ’60s, for instance, you could see music history being written in Jazz clubs all over the country, featuring artists who were not just masterful players but creating and expanding an entire musical tradition.