Public Programs

General Information


How Our Programs Work

Our programs ~generally~ operate as follows. However, because of changing conditions in the sky, our schedules, and special astronomical events, all this is subject to change on short notice. We'll try our very best to show you and/or your family a good time!


Perkins programs almost always consist of the following:

So everyone knows what's going on. Be careful in the dark!
Topics vary with the seasons of the observable sky. We might take a "Nickel Tour of the Universe," or learn all about "Space Crud," or "The Lifestyles of the Huge and Stellar."
TOURS OF THE OBSERVATORY (Cloudy nights or daytime programs.)
How does the Civil War relate to Perkins, and what is that pig doing on the history page? What happened to the 3rd largest telescope in the World? Hear our Ghost Story!

Perkins programs may include one or more of the following:

  OBSERVING SESSIONS (Daytime Solar observing, Night time astronomical observing.)
Weather permitting. We use the large telescope in the dome, as well as smaller ones on the lawn. We also have solar telescopes for use during daytime programs. We do NOT cancel or reschedule programs because of cloudy weather!
ROCKET LAUNCHES (Daytime programs only, also weather dependant.)
We can do these for daytime groups if you ask us to.

Other activities, not group-oriented, that are part of the programs:

Learn a bit about the Universe!
We have lots of popular books and periodicals on Astronomy.
Lots of them! Each one has astronomy software to enjoy.


Things to remember about our programs

1. Because of limited space, please purchase tickets in advance! We often sell out in ahead of time. Please do not come unless you have called first! We do not have "normal" business hours, so you may need to leave a message if no one is here. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER ON OUR VOICE MAIL!
2. We have a capacity of 80 guests.
3. Groups of 10 or more should call at least two weeks in advance and arrange tickets. This way we can insure we will have enough tickets to accommodate the group.
4. Our programs are dedicated to science education. We teach the current scientific understanding of astronomy and physics as presented by the majority of our scientist peers around the world. Above all, our programs are fun and educational for all ages!
5. Programs are held rain or shine. Therefore, tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable to other nights. We do on occasion cancel a program (i.e. - Level 3 Snow Emergency, power outage, University needs, etc). If we do, we will make arrangements with those who have already purchased tickets for that night.
6. Looking through telescopes is not guaranteed, even if it's clear! We love to look through telescopes as much as you do, however there may be circumstances that prevent us from using telescopes, especially the large telescope. Also, our definition of CLEAR is not the same as the weather person's! Ohio weather is not predictable. Therefore our programs emphasize educational activities such as an astronomy talk or tour of the building. Because of changing sky conditions, we often do not know until the program starts if we will be observing or not. (Sorry, we are not meteorologist!) Sometime we get clouded out during the observing session and sometimes it clears halfway through the program if it starts cloudy. In other words, observing is a bonus, and not a guarunteed part of the public programs.
7. Dress for the weather!
9. Because of limited parking and safety, only paying guests or volunteers are allowed on the property during programs.
10. For the safety of all participants, late comers are not permitted on the property or to drive past the "Absolutely No Late Entry" sign which will be placed in the middle of the drive after the program starts. Please arrive on time. Doors open one hour before the start of the program. (Hint: This will allow you time to enjoy our wonderful exhibits and displays!)
11. Other than during our public programs, we do not have "public" hours. If you wish to come to the observatory any other time, you should arrange a special program(click link to learn about the fees, etc.) at least 2 weeks in advance. It is first come, first serve on all dates &times, and also dependent upon our schedules.

Image by: Brad Hoehne
(long exposure photo - note the "ghostly" figures as people move about during the exposure)

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