Cincinnati Observatory

The Cincinnati Observatory is located in Cincinnati, Ohio (United States) on top of Mount Lookout. It consists of 2 observatory buildings real estate an 11-inch (28 cm) and 16 inch (41 cm) aperture refracting telescope. It was a key center for astronomical research study and education at the University of Cincinnati and presently runs as a 19th-century observatory.

The Cincinnati Observatory is a contributing property to the Observatory Historic District. Cincinnati Ohio Information.

Observatory code 765 Edit this on Wikidata
Location Cincinnati, US
Coordinates 39.139°N 84.423°W
Established 1842
1845 Merz und Mahler Refractor
1904 Alvan Clark & Sons Refractor


Cincinnati Observatory was developed by Ormsby M. Mitchel at the peak of Mount Ida, a hill that neglects downtown Cincinnati. Nicholas Longworth contributed 4 acres (1.6 ha) of land for the purpose. The Holy Cross Monastery and Chapel stands today at the site.  The cornerstone was laid on November 9, 1843, and presiding over the event was previous President John Quincy Adams, with an introduction by Judge Jacob Burnet. At 77 years old, it was to be his last public speech, and Mount Ida was renamed to Mount Adams in his honor.

The Merz refractor was the greatest telescope in the United States in the early 1840s.
In 1871, the Observatory came under the control of the University of Cincinnati and in 1873 it was moved from Mt. Adams to Mt. Lookout in order to get away the smoke and dirt of the city, where it stays today. A smaller sized structure, the Mitchel Building, holds the original telescope taken from the Mount Adams observatory. In 1998 the Observatory was stated a National Historic Landmark.

The asteroid 1373 Cincinnati was called to honor the personnel of the observatory.


The 1845 Merz und Mahler 11 inch refractor– Housed in the “Mitchel Building”. May be the earliest continuously utilized telescope on the planet. It is currently used for public education programs.
The 1904 Alvan Clark & Sons 16 inch refractor– Housed in the “Herget Building”. Utilized in public education programs and graduate research.

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