University of Pittsburgh
September 19, 2001

Pitt's Allegheny Observatory Taking Reservations for Open House

Contact:  412-624-4147

September 18, 2001

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory is accepting reservations now through Oct. 12 for its annual open house, which will be 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26. The open house is free, but advance registration is required by calling 412/321-2400. The Observatory is located in Riverview Park, four miles north of downtown Pittsburgh.

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

The Thaw telescope's primary mission has been to enable astronomers to study the distance to nearby stars, and Pitt researchers have used it to create more than 110,000 photographic plates in the Observatory's collection. Information gathered from the Thaw observations has helped set the distance scale of the universe.