Among the offerings: a total lunar eclipse, kites and the latest sunset of the year!
For casual visitors, Observatory Park is open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 10610 Clay Street in Montville Township. For those wanting a more guided experience, however, the astronomy naturalists (“astro-nats”) are eager to show you around this International Dark Sky Park.
Each Friday and Saturday night, park buildings will be open from 6 to 11 p.m. for self-guided night sky viewing and, as weather permits, occasional use of the Oberle reflecting telescope.
Each Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., enjoy building open houses of the Robert McCullough Science Center and the Oberle Observatory to view the meteorite display (featuring a real meteorite you can touch!) and the Oberle telescope, with its 25.5″ mirror. These hours also include The Sky Tonight Planetarium Show Sundays at 2 p.m., offering a naturalist-hosted preview of “what’s up.”
More structured programming is also available for visitors of all ages and interest groups.
In the early hours of Tuesday, April 15, when the moon will be completely covered by Earth’s shadow, stop by to watch the Total Lunar Eclipse – expecting the “total” portion to begin about 3 a.m. Formal program hours are 8 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday.
From 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21, a Summer Solstice Sunset program will host fun activities including solar cooking, solar-powered toy car racing, and safe sun viewing before the latest sunset of the year – after 9 p.m.!
Biweekly Friday programs include Eclipses on April 11 and 25 from 7 to 9 p.m.; Let’s Go Fly a Kite (featuring actual kites you build and fly!) on May 9 and 23 from 7 to 8 p.m.; and Superstitions (also a full moon program) on June 13 and 27 from 7 to 9 p.m.
A program to study the season’s second full moon (The Flower Moon) is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
And finally, if you have a telescope but don’t really know how to use it, Bring In Your Telescope on Saturday, April 12, between 5 and 7 p.m. for some instruction from astro-nats and volunteers from the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society, who can also offer scope-shopping tips and a nice opportunity to “try before you buy.”
All Observatory Park programs this season are free to attend without registration and wheelchair/stroller accessible. For details on these and other parks’ programming, visit us online and click Find a Program.