Coinciding with the summer solstice, the John Glenn Astronomy Park (JGAP) will open to the public this weekend.
The John Glenn Observatory and Astronomy Park, named after the late local hero and famed NASA Astronaut Sen. John Glenn, will feature a designated space for stargazing as well as a telescope for Ohio State University researchers. The Hocking Hills is the perfect location for stargazing, due to its minimal light pollution.
“Our star-filled skies join miles and miles of trails, dense forests, stunning rock formations and rushing waterfalls to lure visitors from around the globe,” said Hocking Hills Tourism Association Executive Director Karen Raymore. “The Tourism Association is thrilled to offer one more reason for travelers to visit the region, and a new way for them to experience a natural attraction that has long mesmerized all who visit us overnight.”
The event will kick off on June 22 at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour, followed by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, and viewing the sunset through the summer solstice aperture in the Solar Plaza. Just after sunset at approximately 9:06 p.m., the JGAP team will turn its powerful telescopes toward the moon and Jupiter, which should be shining high in the southern sky.
Programming will run throughout the weekend, with day programs beginning at 5 p.m. and night programs beginning at sunset.
The JGAP isn’t just focused on the night sky. It will also offer daytime study at the Solar Plaza of the Sun, Earth, and the North Celestial Pole. The Solar Plaza is 80 feet in diameter and showcases the Sun’s orientation to the Earth throughout the year.
The park also features a variety of gathering areas, open green spaces, and easy-to-access parking, making the JGAP ideal for research, star parties, special events, and daily visitation.
For more info, please visit the John Glenn Astronomy Park website.