University of Pittsburgh
August 27, 2003

Pitt's Allegheny Observatory Open House Is Oct. 3


PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory is accepting reservations now through Sept. 19 for its annual open house from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3. The event is free, but reservations are required and can be made by calling 412-321-2400. The observatory is in Riverview Park, four miles north of downtown Pittsburgh.

The open house is the only time when visitors are allowed to use the observatory's massive, 30-inch Thaw Refractor, the primary instrument of the Allegheny Observatory and the third-largest refracting telescope in the United States. Visitors also will be able to use the observatory's 13-inch Fitz-Clark telescope, and the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will set up smaller telescopes on the observatory lawn. The open house includes a slide presentation and self-guided tours of the observatory.

The Thaw telescope has allowed astronomers to study the distance to nearby stars, and Pitt researchers have used it to create more than 110,000 photographic plates, which are part of the observatory's collection. Information gathered from the Thaw observations has helped determine the scale of the universe.