School Programs

Outreach to You

The Cincinnati Observatory provides cutting edge science education. If you can't visit the Observatory we can come to you. Our Outreach Program has delivered hundreds of programs to area schools, scout meetings, libraries, and nursing homes. An astronomer can visit your class, lead fun and in-depth professional development for your teachers, and delivers hands-on, inquiry-based programs that meet academic content standards. We can also bring telescopes for safe viewing of sunspots and solar flares or even lead a star party at your place. We will work actively to design a program that is right for your class. Program descriptions of our most popular programs are listed below. However, we can customize any program to your astronomical needs

Programs Available

  • Reasons for the Seasons - A 23.5 degree tilt makes all the difference between winter and summer. The Earth has a slanted view of the universe and you will discover how the angle of the Sun's rays cause Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
  • Tour of the Universe - Rocket through space among billions of stars and galaxies. This program tackles the life cycles, and types of stars and galaxies as well as the distances to these interstellar objects. Students will discover how much we have learned from telescopes and where their place is in the universe.
  • The Sun - The mass and energy of the Sun are astronomical. Using a portable solar projector, your class can safely take a closer look for sunspots and other solar activity. We will also discuss the Sun's nuclear explosions and their impact on Earth.
  • Moon phases and eclipses - Moon phases are perhaps the most difficult astronomical phenomenon for students to understand. With the assistance of a half-painted soccer ball, 30 moons on a stick, a 150-watt light bulb, and some great simulation software, your students' will sure to become luna-tics.
  • The Planets and their Orbits - The solar system is constantly changing and we can keep you up to date. Utilizing the latest images from NASA we will share the canyons on Mars, the giant hurricane on Jupiter, and the rings of Saturn while demonstrating their pathways around the Sun.
  • Day, month, year, cycles - This program will make you dizzy. In Cincinnati we rotate at 770 mph and revolve around the Sun at 66,000 mph. This constant movement provides us some very observable cycles. We will get your students up and moving - and hopefully not nauseous.
  • Stars and Constellations - There are more stars in the sky than you can ever count. But you'll see that finding your way around the sky has never been this fun. Combining astronomy with memorable ancient myths, this program will encourage your students to research and write about the constellations. Have you heard the story of Orion?
  • Comets and meteors - Stuff hitting the Earth always fascinates students. We can make a comet right in your classroom and bring actual meteorites for close inspection. Students will learn about their structure, parts, and orbits while being able to touch a rock from space.
  • Aliens - Is anyone out there? Delve into the scientific hunt for life on other planets. How would we send a message? How would we understand their message? The truth is out there.

Outreach fees start at $100 for the first presentation, $50 for each additional presentation on the same day. Assembly programs start at $250.  Mileage charges apply for programs outside the Cincinnati area

Evening Star Parties - Want to see into space for yourself? We can bring portable telescopes to your location for nighttime viewing programs. You can take a close-up look at the Moon, planets, stars and more!

       $150 small group (less than 40 people and one staff member)

       $250 large group (over 40 people using multiple telescope/staff)

If you have further questions or would like to schedule an outreach visit, please contact Katie Vaughn at or call her at 513-321-5186.