Pitt Sets Sept. 30 Open House for Allegheny Observatory

Issue Date: 
August 23, 2011

ObservatoryExplore the heavens and a historic scientific landmark during a Sept. 30 open house at the University of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Observatory, 159 Riverview Ave., Riverview Park, Observatory Hill. Visitors can freely roam the observatory and peer into the night sky through the 30-inch Thaw Refractor telescope—a 47-foot telescope normally reserved for research. In addition, members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will set up telescopes on the observatory lawn for the public. If the night is clear, guests can catch a close-up of Jupiter and the Moon.

As one of the world’s major centers for astronomical research, the observatory houses collections of photographic plates of star fields that are among the largest and oldest collections anywhere; the collections began in 1914 and now boast more than 110,000 images. Unlike regular observatory tours, the open house event allows people to browse through these plates and take self-guided tours of the observatory’s different research rooms.

The open house, which is free to the public, will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Ticket reservations may be made by calling the observatory weekdays between 1 and 5 p.m. at 412-321-2400. For more information, visit the observatory’s Web site at www.pitt.edu/~aobsvtry.

—John Fedele