FAQ's

Q

How old are your telescopes

A

We have two historic telescopes. One, which dates back to 1843, is the oldest professional telescope in the United States. We refer to this telescope as the “Merz and Mahler” telescope – after the guys who made it in Munich, Germany. This is an 11 inch refracting telescope which we use during most programs.

Our other historic telescope was made in 1904 in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts by Alvan Clark and Sons. This is a 16 inch refracting telescope which resides in our larger building.

Q

How much does the telescope weigh?

A

The 1843 telescope, mount, and other accessories weigh over 2,000 pounds.  Just the tube of the 1904 telescope weighs over 1,000 pounds.  Add in the mount, finder scopes, and cast iron base to it and the big scope is several tons of metal.

Q

Can anyone come see through the telescopes? Are you open to the public?

A

Yes, most definitely! Our telescopes are used almost every clear night. School and scout groups are scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. The public nights are Thursdays and Fridays. Special events and private parties are on Saturdays. And on Sunday afternoons we have history tours on the second and fourth week of the month and miscellaneous classes and viewings Sunday night. And if you have some free time during the day, you’re welcome to come see us.  We always recommend calling ahead to make reservations at 513-321-5186. 

Q

I have a telescope that I don’t know how to use. Can you help?

A

Of course! We have classes on getting the most out of your scope or you can just call us for advice. We can show you all the functions and line up your optics. We want you to get out and use your scope and not let it collect dust. Call us at 513-321-5186 to schedule a telescope consult.

Q

If it’s clear at night, what do you normally observe?

A

If available we mostly look at the Moon and planets. The craters of the Moon, bands on Jupiter, and rings of Saturn are the highlights. Depending on the season we may look at double stars with contrasting colors, star clusters like M13 and M35, the Orion Nebula, or even a galaxy.

Q

What is the coolest thing to see through the telescopes?

A

Although Mars is the most popular object to view, the rings of Saturn are probably the most amazing to behold. Your view seems unreal and many visitors ask, “Did you put a sticker on the end of the telescope?” because it is so perfect.