Ever looked up at the skies and wondered – “what’s out there?” Luckily, you don’t have to be an astronaut to get a view of the heavens. This summer in Ohio, check out all the ways you can stargaze – there’s no better way to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the lunar landing than by seeking your own adventure!
Cleveland’s NASA Glenn Research Center
Stargazers of all experience levels will discover observatories and astronomy parks all-across Ohio. Start by joining a public tour at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, one of only a few official NASA outposts in the country, where you can discover how scientists develop the innovative technologies behind space exploration, from power to propulsion to communication.
Plan ahead — bus tours are held once a month, April through October, by reservation.
Montville’s Observatory Park
Get an unparalleled view of the stars at Ohio’s Observatory Park within Montville’s Geauga Park District. When the park opened in 2011, it was awarded a Silver Tier Dark Sky Park distinction, making it one of the only Dark Sky Parks in the country. Bring your telescope or view the heavens in great detail through the 36-inch mirror research telescope.
John Glenn Astronomy Park in Southeast Ohio
Ohio’s space pioneer is honored at the new John Glenn Astronomy Park, located in the beautiful rolling hills of southeastern Ohio. The near-pristine skies of the Hocking Hills offer breathtaking views of the Milky Way. Take a “solar system walk” in the park during the day to get a sense of the solar system’s size, or view the sun through telescopes with specialized lenses. At night, guests can check out stars, planets, comets and nebulae through a 28-inch telescope.
The Works’ SciDome Planetarium
The Works in Newark, Ohio merits hours of exploration, and its new SciDome Planetarium, will let adventurers turn an eye skyward. The planned 30-foot tilted dome will be outfitted with state-of-the-art 4K digital projection, creating stunning sky-scapes showcasing both the night sky and geological features of planet Earth.
Stargazing at Ohio State Parks
Scope out the skies at an Ohio State Park this summer!
Dillon State Park – Home of an outdoor observation area used for a variety of naturalist-led astronomy programs, within walking distance of the campground.
John Glenn Astronomy Park at Hocking Hills State Park – Open year-round, this park is located in the dark skies of Hocking Hills. Parking is limited, so visit here to reserve spaces and prepare for your visit.
Stargazing at Stonelick State Park, Monthly event running from 6pm to 11:45pm
Dates: June 1, 8 & 29, July 6 & 27, Aug 3, 24 & 31, Sept 21 & 28, Oct 26, Nov 2, 23 & 30, Dec 21 & 28
The public is invited to come stargazing Saturday nights at Stonelick State Park. Follow the signs to the swimming beach, where volunteers from the Cincinnati Observatory will set up a variety of telescopes. When conditions are good, astronomers usually set up around dusk and often stay late into the night. Stargazers are always welcome, even on non-scheduled nights.
“Here Comes the Sun” at John Glenn Astronomy Park, June 21
Celebrate the park’s anniversary and the arrival of the summer solstice with a sunset program! Reservations are encouraged. Visit here for more.
50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing at John Glenn Astronomy Park, July 20
There’s no better way to celebrate the moon landing than under the stars. Relive the original event fifty years later! Visit here for more.
Full Moon Watch, July 13
Join the Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center as they honor the 50th anniversary of astronauts on the moon. Learn about the park’s nocturnal creatures and view a nearly perfect full moon. Bring a comfortable chair, wear appropriate clothing, and don’t forget the bug spray!
Stargazing and Meteor Showers, August 10
Enjoy an evening of sky watching during the peak of the Perseid meteor showers, also at Beaver Creek State Park. A campfire is included – so bring some marshmallows, a comfortable chair, and a blanket to fully enjoy the stargazing and meteor show!
Perseid’s Meteor Shower Party, August 12
Join Dillon State Park on their sky deck for snacks and non-alcoholic drinks while scoping out the stars and meteor showers on one of their telescopes.
Full Moon Walk, August 15
Led by a naturalist at Mohican State Park, this night hike gives visitors a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of the park, lit by the light of a full moon. Learn more by contacting Mohican State Park at 419-994-5125.
Night Skies at Pike Lake, Every Wednesday from June 5 to August 28
Meet at the nature center to check out the night skies over Pike Lake with naturalist Matt Minter. 3 telescopes will be available to use, or you can bring your own.Cloudy weather? Join Matt for a talk about how the planets were discovered and an update on the latest discoveries in space. The night concludes with a night hike that begins at 9 pm. Find more information here.
Astronomy Club of Akron Observatory Events – Portage Lakes State Park
Join the astronomy club of Akron Observatory at Portage Lakes State Park for stargazing and educational activities all-summer-long.
June 1 at 9pm – View global clusters – star clusters contain tens of thousands of stars in an area less than 100 light years across.
June 29 at 9pm – See Jupiter’s equatorial belts and the Galilean moons orbiting the planet.
July 20 at 9pm – Observe Jupiter, Wild Duck Cluster, Ring Nebula, and more.
July 27 at 9pm – Observe Jupiter and Saturn while stars fall from the sky as the Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower will peak that night.
August 31 at 8:30pm – View a variety of celestial objects including open clusters M25, M23, and Butterfly Cluster M6.
Weather not cooperating this season? Find a list of some the state’s best planetariums here – where you can stargaze inside.
For more out-of-this-world adventures, Find It Here. at Ohio.org.