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Dearborn Observatory Welcomes 1500 Visitors During Open House Chicago

Northwestern University participated in its fourth Open House Chicago in a weekend-long event, October 13-14, 2018. Put on by the Chicago Architecture Center, the free annual festival offers a behind-the-scenes view to more than 250 buildings across the Chicagoland area to all those curious. There are 14 sites open in Evanston, including the Bahai Temple, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Levere Memorial Temple, FEW Spirits Distillery, as well as the Dearborn Observatory.

The Dearborn Observatory was constructed in 1889 through a collaboration between Northwestern University and the Chicago Astronomical Society, and once held the record for the world’s largest telescope at 18.5 inches. The building itself was moved in 1939 several hundred feet over the course of three months to make way for construction.

Over the course of the two days, the Dearborn Observatory welcomed nearly 1500 visitors, entertaining and educating those who toured with its enchanting century-old telescope that is still in use today.

“I am proud to say that this Saturday and Sunday the Dearborn hosted 1494 visitors…  as part of the Chicago Architecture Center’s Open House Chicago,” said Michael Smutko, Director of the Dearborn Observatory, “I want to extend a huge thank you to the people who helped make it possible to host this many visitors and who nearly lost their voices in the process of speaking to hundreds of people each day.”

Visitors were able to walk through the building and the dome; many observed the Sun through either a spotting scope or through a purpose built solar telescope, both affixed to the main telescope. The line spanned through the building and even out the door during the Open House Chicago event.

Opening the Dearborn Observatory annually to the public in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Center positively and directly connects the community with Northwestern astronomers. A great outreach event, people of all ages and backgrounds are able to see what’s inside the dome and know more about the field of astronomy.

Thank you to the astronomy students and postdocs who made this event possible:

The Dearborn Observatory is open to the public for tours and viewing sessions every Friday. Visiting Information.

Learn more about Open House Chicago, and mark your calendars for next year: October 19-20, 2019!