Day 38 of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” finds us gazing into the sky at the Cincinnati Observatory. Home to the world’s oldest telescope still used daily, the Cincinnati Observatory sits high upon a hill in Mt. Lookout.
The Observatory houses two telescopes. The older telescope’s refractor was made is 1843 and the second telescope, which they jokingly refer to as the newer one, is from 1904. Both are still in use at the Observatory.
This is the newer telescope and it is housed in the bigger of the two buildings. In the picture above you will see the segmented roof panels which allow for particular sections to be opened for celestial viewing.
Above you will see our guide “turning the roof”. This whole scheme was truly an engineering masterpiece. There is one section of the room that has a rope pulley system. That pulley system manipulates the roof section right above the ropes and those sections open (see the telescope picture above to see one open section). The staff opens a section with the pulley and then they use the device shown above to turn the entire roof so that the opening is towards whatever portion of the sky you’d like to view with the telescope.
The shot above gives you a bit of perspective and allows you to see just how HUGE this telescope is.
Once the roof is opened and the telescope is adjusted into position, you climb these ladders to look into the telescope. And what happens if you get it all set up and are watching a moving target? The telescope actually has a mechanism that allows the telescope to “lock in” on a particular object and move right along with it.
The Cincinnati Observatory holds many events and also offers educational classes and tours. They hold both daytime and nighttime events. They have classes such as “Using your Telescope” and “Observational Astronomy”. just to name a few. They even have Sunday Historical Tours where you can learn “how Mt. Adams got its name; the role the Observatory played in Cincinnati’s commerce, the scientific discoveries, and the beginnings of the National Weather Service.”
For more information see the Cincinnati Observatory Website
The Cincinnati Observatory is located at 3489 Observatory Place in Cincinnati, Ohio 45208