Not even a ceiling could block our view of the night sky at Perkins Observatory in Delaware, Ohio. Stars, artfully carved into the entryway ceiling were certainly more appropriate than swirls of plaster, although one could make a case for those as a rendering of our Milky Way galaxy, I suppose.
We pulled into the Perkins Observatory parking lot near darkness on a Friday night. Volunteers from the Columbus Astronomy Society directed us to parking spaces as they simultaneously set up monster telescopes along the entrance walkway.
Inside we glanced into an interactive curio shop of a room burgeoning with all things astronomical. A back hallway revealed the Blue Moon Cafe as well as stairways leading in both the customary directions (that would be “up” and “down”). To take the upstairs route required completion of the upcoming orientation session and an escort, so we headed for the basement first.
Meteorite artifacts, telescopes and telescope mirrors, as well as displays on both the elements of space and man’s efforts to define and understand them, made for an interesting wander. Windowed doors allowed us to peek into the mirror and vacuum chamber labs where custom telescopes are devised and made.
Our anticipation to peer through a telescopic lens grew by the moment. And after a science pep talk and orientation by King “astro-nerd” Tom Burns, we were ready to turn out the lights and get a closeup view of stars and planets that were millions of miles away.
Perkins Observatory: Call ahead for reservations (740-363-1257). Public programs most Friday nights. Private group visits available. Click Google Map link below for more information.
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