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Dearborn Observatory on View at Open House Chicago 2019

By: Lydia Rivers (@lydiuhrivers)

Dearborn Observatory participated in the fifth annual Open House Chicago festival by welcoming over 1400 visitors to the historic telescope for the weekend-long event October 19 through 20. The line to meander the building and see inside the dome stretched through the building and even out the door at times.

A free public festival organized by the Chicago Architecture Center, Open House Chicago offers behind-the-scenes access to over 250 architecturally, historically and culturally significant sites across the city. Visitors to the observatory were accompanied by CIERA graduate students and faculty that educated and entertained the public with the history of the observatory and the century-old telescope that is still in use as a teaching tool today.

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. Visitors were able to walk through the dome that houses the telescope, and many were able to observe the Sun through a spotting scope or a solar telescope.


Thank you to Observatory Director Mike Smutko, Program Assistant Yassaman Shemirani, and especially to the astronomy volunteers that made this event possible: