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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cincinnati in Hamilton County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Cincinnati Observatory

“Lighthouse of the Sky”

 
 
The Cincinnati Observatory Marker (Side A) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
1. The Cincinnati Observatory Marker (Side A)
Inscription.
Side A:
Prompted by response to his popular lectures, astronomer Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel (1809-1862) founded the Cincinnati Astronomical Society (CAS) in 1842. With CAS funding, Mitchel traveled to Munich, Bavaria, to acquire the optical elements for what became the world's second largest refractor telescope. In 1843 former president John Quincy Adams laid the cornerstone of the observatory building, located upon the hill since known as Mount Adams. The Cincinnati Observatory was completed and opened for study in 1845. Mitchel, who died in service during the Civil War, was among the first to popularize astronomy in America. The telescope he brought to Cincinnati remains in daily use, the oldest such instrument in the United States.

Side B:
As second director of the Cincinnati Observatory, meteorologist Dr. Cleveland Abbe (1838-1916) inaugurated daily weather predictions based on telegraph reports. His work prompted the formation of the U.S. Weather Bureau, forerunner of the National Weather Service. After the Cincinnati Observatory was transferred to the University of Cincinnati, it was relocated to this site in 1873. Five directors charted its course for the next one hundred years. Under Dr. Paul Herget (1908-1981), a pioneer in the electronic tracking of satellites, the observatory was designated
The Cincinnati Observatory Marker (Side B) image. Click for full size.
By Frank M Helfen, August 26, 2013
2. The Cincinnati Observatory Marker (Side B)
the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center in 1947. In 1978 the University of Cincinnati's Physics Department assumed operation of the observatory, and in 1999 the University transferred it to The Cincinnati Observatory Center. This organization preserves the traditions of the oldest professional observatory in the United States.
 
Erected 2002 by Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, The Cincinnati Observatory Center and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 23-31.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks, and the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection marker series.
 
Location. 39° 8.334′ N, 84° 25.344′ W. Marker is in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Hamilton County. Touch for map. Marker is at the observatory, off Observatory Avenue. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3489 Observatory Place, Cincinnati OH 45208, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cherry Tree Grove (approx. ¾ mile away); St. Marys World War Marker (approx. 0.9 miles away); Evanston - World War One Honor Roll (approx. 2½ miles away); Miss Doherty's College Preparatory School for Girls
The Cincinnati Observatory (Herget Building) and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
3. The Cincinnati Observatory (Herget Building) and Marker
(approx. 2.8 miles away); Pleasant Ridge - World War One Marker (approx. 2.9 miles away); Garard/Martin Station, 1790 (approx. 3.1 miles away); Frederick W. Galbraith (approx. 3.7 miles away); Battery F, 136th Field Artillery, A.E.F. (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cincinnati.
 
Also see . . .
1. History of the Cincinnati Observatory. “The Cincinnati Observatory Center is known as ‘The Birthplace of American Astronomy.’ It houses one of the oldest working telescopes and was the first public observatory in the western hemisphere. Recently restored to its original beauty, the Observatory is a fully functioning 19th century observatory used daily by the public and amateur astronomers. The main telescopes are an 11-inch Merz and Mahler refractor purchased in 1842 and a 16-inch Alvan Clark and Sons refractor from 1904. The historic buildings are designated as a National Historic Landmark, and the grounds provide a serene, park-like setting while still being centrally located in the city of Cincinnati.” (Submitted on November 16, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.) 

2. Wikipedia entry for Ormsby M. Mitchel
The Cincinnati Observatory's Herget Building image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
4. The Cincinnati Observatory's Herget Building
. “A multi-talented man, he was also an attorney, surveyor, professor, and publisher. He is notable for publishing the first magazine in the United States devoted to astronomy. Known in the Union Army as "Old Stars", he is best known for ordering the raid that became famous as the Great Locomotive Chase during the American Civil War.” (Submitted on October 29, 2016.) 
 
Categories. EducationScience & Medicine
 
The Cincinnati Observatory's Mitchel Building image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
5. The Cincinnati Observatory's Mitchel Building
The Cincinnati Observatory's Herget Building and Sundial image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
6. The Cincinnati Observatory's Herget Building and Sundial
The Cincinnati Observatory's Sundial image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
7. The Cincinnati Observatory's Sundial
In Memory of Paul Nohr
Observatory Astronomer 1979 to 2006.
Astronomer, teacher, friend, restorer of the Observatory’s telescopes and a motivator in preserving the Observatory

Instructions for the Sundial Memorial

Stand with the center of your body over today's date. Your shadow indicates eastern standard time (inner ring of numbers) or eastern daylight time (outer ring of numbers).
The Cincinnati Observatory Sundial In Operation image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
8. The Cincinnati Observatory Sundial In Operation
The Cincinnati Observatory Sundial in Operation image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 1, 2009
9. The Cincinnati Observatory Sundial in Operation
Cincinnati Observatorys 11 inch "Merz and Mahler" refracting telescope installed in 1843 image. Click for full size.
By Engraving in Smith's Illustrated Astronomy, Second Edition, 1848
10. Cincinnati Observatorys 11 inch "Merz and Mahler" refracting telescope installed in 1843
It is described in the 1848 text as “The 2nd Telescope in size in the United States at the Cincinnati Observatory.” It is believed to be the oldest professional telescope still in use in the Western Hemisphere
<i>Observatory of the Cincinnati University at Mount Lookout</i> image. Click for full size.
By Young and Carl, phot., circa 1910
11. Observatory of the Cincinnati University at Mount Lookout
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 31, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 16, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,223 times since then and 66 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week October 30, 2016. Photos:   1. submitted on November 16, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   2. submitted on August 26, 2013, by Frank M Helfen of Batavia, Ohio.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on November 16, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   10. submitted on October 29, 2016, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   11. submitted on October 31, 2016.
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