John Glenn Astronomy Park at Hocking Hills opening in June


LOGAN, Ohio (WCMH) — The John Glenn Astronomy Park located in Hocking Hills State Park will be opening on the first day of summer.

Coinciding with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the grand opening for the John Glenn Astronomy Park will start at 6:30 pm , June 21. The ceremony will kick off with a social hour, followed by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and viewing the sunset through the summer solstice aperture in the park’s Solar Plaza.

Then, just after 9 pm, powerful telescopes toward the moon and Jupiter, which will be high in the southern sky that night.

“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 park will not only allows visitors to explore the night sky but also offers daytime study, welcoming visitors to its Solar Plaza to study the Sun, Earth and the North Celestial Pole, among other celestial features. The 80-foot in diameter Solar Plaza highlights the Sun’s orientation to the Earth as it changes throughout the year.

The plaza is encircled by a low wall with notches that offer framed views of the Sun on key days. An enclosed 540-square-foot observatory features a retractable roof that permits night sky viewing. Gathering areas, open green space and parking make the Astronomy Park ideal for research, star parties, special events and general daily visitation.

Astronaut John Glenn agreed to lend his name to the park, giving it his blessing shortly before passing away on Dec. 8, 2017.

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