Explore Columbus: Gaze Upon the Stars at The Perkins Observatory
The Perkins Observatory hosts stargazing nights on Fridays at 9 p.m. during the summer months. Unfortunately, for me, the night I attended was cloudy and rainy so I did not get to take part in stargazing. I did, however, learn many new things about the amazing universe in which we live.
First, all the guests sat in a classroom-like room and were given a presentation by one of the astronomers that either work or volunteer at the observatory. (This is when I realized just how much I don’t know about astronomy and science). Because the skies had not been clear enough for stargazing, this presentation was in place of that time. The presenter told us he was showing the group what we would have seen had the skies been clearer.
My tour was on the same night that an entire Boy Scout Troop also attended. (This made me feel even more uneducated). The average age was about 9, and all the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. The presenter induced a lot of crowd participation and continually asked questions and the kids got a lot of the answers correct. (Again, I felt as if I must have slept through every science lesson I had ever been given).
The presentation was a bit lengthy overall, lasting about an hour, but the presenter made sure to keep the crowd laughing with witty jokes and volunteers from the crowd for demonstrations. He also left the group with a few words of wisdom, which I particularly enjoyed, saying, “Learn a thousand new things everyday. Don’t waste this great opportunity.”
After the introduction and crash-course to Astronomy 101, my group and I went into the large library for a brief history lesson on the building and it’s founder, Hiram Perkins. If nothing else, I urge everyone to go and visit the observatory for the simple purpose of viewing the building’s architecture and learning about one of Ohio’s most interesting histories.
I learned that the building was built and funded by Hiram Perkins, a Ohio Wesleyan University graduate and professor, in 1857. At one time, the building was home to the third largest telescope in the world. Today, it holds the second largest telescope in Ohio.
In my opinion, the coolest part of the tour was going into the dome that holds the telescope. The telescope itself was not in use the night I attended because of the weather, but I have to say it was still a neat experience to see the process in which it would all take place. The dome itself was quite interesting. It rotates, that way the telescope can be positioned in the desired direction without moving the incredibly large telescope itself.
Overall, I had a fun time and I learned a lot. A trip to the Perkins Observatory would make for a great educational and fun trip for families with kids still in school, or adults who, like me, exempted themselves from high school science entirely.
For more information, visit perkins.owu.edu.
Columbus Underground is kicking off the summer with Explore Columbus Week! From June 2nd to June 8th, we’ll be sharing unique places to visit and experiences to have all throughout the region, sponsored by our friends at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro. Gallerie Bar & Bistro proudly embraces Ohio’s rich agricultural heritage and remarkable craftsmanship by featuring items from local farmers and artisans who maintain sustainable practices in the creation their products. Starting July 10, on the second Thursday of each month we are offering a monthly Supper Club for our city to experience creative coursed dinners from the kitchen of Chef Bill Glover and his team matched with unique pairings of wine, spirits, and beer. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.galleriebarandbistro.com.