Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Cincinnati Observatory aims to promote a passion and understanding of science and astronomy. Through a variety of public events and programs, the observatory attracts visitors from around the country who want to learn more about space in an interactive and entertaining way. Their mission is to inspire generations to look up to the stars.
The Cincinnati Observatory houses one of the oldest working telescopes in the country and is therefore commonly known as the birthplace of astronomy in America. The original telescopes were purchases in 1842 and has always been a place for the local community to come and express their passion for astronomy.
The observatory was officially founded on a piece of land at the top of Mt. Ida in 1843 by president John Quincy Adams. In President Adam’s last public speech, he declared the observatory a public landmark. The telescope was enjoyed by the public for decades until 1873 when the telescope and the observatory was moved to Mt. Lookout to escape the pollution of downtown.
The observatory continued to function as a communal location for many years, even remaining popular through the second world war. However, the observatory became an official part of the University of Cincinnati in 1979 and the facility was then used mainly for research. The public was no longer provided with as much access to the telescopes and therefore they were used less frequently and even began to fall into disrepair.
Luckily, thanks to a determined coalition of community members, educators, and astronomy buffs, the telescopes and its research facility were repaired and reopened to the public in the 1980s. Since then, those who run the observatory have been dedicated to educating and entertaining the next generations about the galaxy and all of the magic is contains.
There are a variety of year-round public events held at the Observatory, including some of the following upcoming events:
Topics in Astronomy: This event features a variety of casual classes for astronomy beginners. The class is led by world-class astronomer, Dean Regas, and attendees will learn how to use telescopes correctly to find all kinds of stars, planets, and eclipses in the sky year-round. This event will be held twice, on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 7-9 p.m. and on Tuesday August 8, 2017 from 8-10 p.m. Visitors must sign-up ahead of time and both events are weather permitting.
Sun-Day Sunday Sundae: This event is meant to teach attendees about the largest star in the galaxy – the sun! There will be short talks, tours, and viewings of the sun from the observatory’s telescope. There are no reservations need and maybe the best part of it all – those in attendance will receive free sundaes as a treat. This event will be held on the afternoon of Sunday, June 25, 2017.
Cosmic Kids: This event is an astronomy class aimed at children grades 1-6 and is meant for the entire family to attend along with them. The class will teach attendees about telescopes, space, and our galaxy in a hands-on and entertaining way. The class will have a variety of themes and will be held 5 times throughout the summer and fall. The classes will be held on July 15, August 19, September 16, October 21, and November 18 with topics about the sun, space rocks, the moon, solar eclipses, and constellations. Reservations are required and space is limited.
Some other events held at the Observatory include watching the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 and International Observe the Moon Night on October 28, 2017. For a full list of upcoming events and more information on how to sign-up, please visit the public events calendar.
Education and Programs:
The Cincinnati Observatory offers a large variety of public education outreach programs. Trained staff will visit local schools and host a specialized program for students to enjoy and learn! There are programs available for all grade levels, interests, and abilities. For more information, visit the educational programs page of the Cincinnati Observatory website.
The Cincinnati Observatory, 3489 Observatory Place, Cincinnati, OH 45208, Phone: 513-321-5186
Back to: Things to Do in Cincinnati