Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Main Library

The Cincinnati Observatory Center is on a mission. No, not to Mars (that would be cool though). This mission is a lot closer to home. At the start of 2019, the Observatory launched it’s 52 Weeks of Astronomy program with the goal of bringing astronomy education to all 52 of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods. 

Because not everyone is able to come to the Observatory, Observatory staff are packing up their telescopes and hitting the road. This groundbreaking program is a partnership with The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Parks, and various local churches and community centers. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon as part of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar mission, making this program all the more special. It’s all about meeting people where they are and get them excited about space. 

By day, participants use special welder’s glasses that are dark enough to allow examination of the sun through a telescope. By night, they’ll point the telescopes at the Moon, stars, and planets. Both events include a special astronomy talk with highlights from the night sky, inspiring NASA videos, and a chance to ask an astronomer any question. 

“In every neighborhood, we’ve visited so far, people love it,” said Dean Regas, Cincinnati Observatory Outreach Astronomer and co-host of the PBS program Star Gazers. “Most people attending aren’t even expecting to get to look through an actual telescope and are amazed by the universe they are able to see. The reaction we get the most is simply, ‘Wow!’ It’s an honor to provide a little bright point in someone’s day—a chance to do something out of the ordinary and a little inspiring. Hopefully, everyone goes home contemplating the universe and dreaming of outer space.” 

The 52 Weeks of Astronomy program will run until the end of the year. The Library will host events at the following locations: 

Clifton Branch: Monday, June 10 from 2-3:30 p.m.
Bond Hill Branch: Monday, July 15 from 2-3:30 p.m.
Oakley Branch: Friday, July 19 from 1-2 p.m.
Pleasant Ridge Branch: Tuesday, September 24 from 4-5 p.m. 

For a full list of the remaining 52 Weeks of Astronomy dates and locations, please visit the Observatory website. 

The Cincinnati Observatory Center is an iconic fixture in our city. Tucked away in the cozy residential area of Mt. Lookout (which got its name thanks to the Observatory’s location) it's domed roofs are instantly recognizable. It’s actually known as the birthplace of American astronomy and is home to one of the oldest working telescopes. It was the first public observatory in the western hemisphere and is used for public education as well as for research by graduate students and others at the University of Cincinnati. 

Fill out the form below to receive updates on new blog posts.