The Cincinnati Observatory, 'The Birthplace of American Astronomy' and home to the oldest professional telescope in the US, is always a wonderful destination for anyone, of any age, who is curious about science, astronomy and the world around them.
This summer, the observatory has several activities lined up to engage, entertain and enlighten those interested in the sun, the moon, Saturn - and other cosmic entities that make up our own solar system.
In the early morning hours of April 15 the Earth, Moon and Sun will align, creating a total lunar eclipse visible from anywhere in the Tri-state. The moon will appear coppery red during the eclipse, which is why many refer to it as a “blood moon.” Dr. Wes Ryle, assistant professor of Math and Physics at Thomas More College, and Cincinnati Observatory Assistant Director and Outreach Astronomer Dean Regas discuss the lunar eclipse, and how you can best enjoy the astronomical show.
This Saturday evening Dr. Ryle will offer a presentation on how to prepare for the eclipse, followed by a telescope viewing at The Bank of Kentucky Observatory at TMC. April 14 from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM you can camp-out on the Observatory grounds to view the eclipse.
The Cincinnati Observatory will hold a lunar eclipse viewing April 15 from 2:00 to 5:30 AM. All viewings at both observatories depend, of course, on the weather.
Pull out a comfy lawn chair, grab some snacks and face to the east this weekend for a view of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Cincinnati Observatory Outreach Astronomer Dean Regas said the meteors are about the size of a grain of sand and hit the earth's atmosphere at more than 100,000 miles per hour. They reach 3,000 degrees fahrenheit, producing the flash of light you see.
"The only trick is, you have to be up pretty early in the morning to see most of them, usually between 2 and 5 a.m., which is a little early for most folks," said Regas.
The Cincinnati Observatory is celebrating an anniversary this weekend. It was 168 years ago that a prominent Cincinnatian made the city the "Birthplace of American Astronomy."
Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel must have been a pretty convincing guy. In the mid-1800s he went door to door to collect 25 dollar donations for a telescope and observatory. Cincinnati Observatory Outreach Astronomer Dean Regas tells the story.