Large telescopes look into the night sky to view activity in space. The less light where the telescope is the better it is to see into the cosmos. Many telescope and observatories are located in cities, areas with high light pollution. A new location in Lebanon, Ohio is the site of a new observatory. There are three other observatories in the area but none that are so far from Cincinnati and can offer such clear viewing.
The idea of building the observatory in Warren County was due to the man that donated the telescope, a Warren County resident. The original site of the telescope in the 1980s was very dark, but is no longer suitable due to growth and development. Today Gully Park is the darkest spot in the county and one of the only places it is possible to see dark sky at night near Cincinnati.
Astronomers can see planets and stars no matter the light pollution. It is trying to see star clusters and other activity in what is known as the “deep sky” that light pollution becomes a problem. At Gully Park the telescope will be able to see Saturn’s rings, the Andromeda Galaxy and the surface features of Mars.
In the United States it is becoming much more difficult to have an observatory that is near a city and can clearly see into the night sky. Most very large telescopes or satellite dishes are located well outside of cities, in rural towns where there is no light pollution at all.
The other two observatories welcome this new addition as they are geared for different purposes. The Cincinnati observatory is about letting the public access the telescope, as the population enjoys see planets and moons. The new observatory is available to the public but it will also benefit researchers and those looking to uncover the mysteries in the sky.
Currently the project is still raising funds for construction. The observatory will rely on volunteers for maintenance and running of the observatory. If the current plan stays on the schedule the observatory should be open in the spring of 2012.