Apollo Observatory

Apollo Observatory
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
2600 DeWeese Parkway
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 275-7431
Email: Astronomy@BoonshoftMuseum.org
Cheri Adams, Director of Astronomy

Photo: Exterior of Museum Topped by Observatory Dome. Photo by James Guilford.
Exterior of Museum Topped by Observatory Dome

The original building and the 50cm (~ 20-inch) telescope located in the dome were designed with the advice and guidance of the Miami Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS). The telescope was built by members and its truss framework enclosed to provide shielding from ambient light.

Photo: Apollo Observatory's 50cm Telescope. Photo by James Guilford.
Apollo Observatory’s 50-centimeter Telescope

The Observatory was built by the Museum using grant money from local foundations, and labor and materials donated from local businesses. The second floor of the Apollo Observatory contains a large meeting room where monthly meetings and social gatherings are held. The 50cm telescope is also located on the second floor, just to the south of the meeting room.

Photo: Apollo Observatory Viewed from Meeting Room. Photo by James Guilford.
Observatory Viewed from the Meeting Room

A glass wall permits casual inspection of the telescope by visitors, although the entire observatory is open for public viewing during observing nights. The Apollo Observatory is open free to the public every clear Friday from 8:00 to 11:00 PM. Visitors should call the museum at (937) 275-7431 after 7:30 PM to ascertain that it is clear at the museum.

Photo: Apollo Observatory's Junior Observing and Training Station.
The Junior Observing and Training Station

Directly north of the Apollo Observatory is the Junior Observing and Training Station, more commonly called the Junior Observatory. Built in 1971, primarily by young member volunteer labor, the medium-sized unheated building with its twin roll-off roofs shelters five permanently-mounted telescopes: a long-focus 8-inch Newtonian reflector, a short-focus 8-inch Schmidt-Newtonian, a short-focus 12-inch Schmidt Newtonian, a 10-inch Cassegrain, and a 5 1/2-inch refractor. The telescopes had been used for public observing sessions conducted by the MVAS and Museum but the facility is not currently employed.


2 thoughts on “Apollo Observatory

  1. John Vennerholm April 21, 2019 / 4:05 pm

    My name is John Vennerholm. In the early 1960s, I was one of the members of the old MVAS, along with Cash Durst and the famous Olaf Moon and “Torp” Lapenas of Optron Labs. Our good friend, Joe Koestner, the museum director, had asked our group if MVAS might suggest innovative ideas to include in the design of the Miami Valley Historical Society’s new observatory to make it more of a teaching facility rather than a purely scientific one.

    I suggested the the original concept of providing an upstairs heated observation room next to the dome room using insulating windows so that visitors could see the telescope in warm comfort and, because digital imaging was just coming into general use at that time, simultaneously see the image from the “eyepiece” of the telescope on multiple television monitors. The idea was quickly accepted.

    I think the original 19″ ‘scope came from the old St. Louis observatory and the present V-shaped ‘scope frame looks much like the first one that I, being a mechanical engineer, also designed back then to hold the secondary.

    David Rike’s generous support for the new observatory was a such a boon for the community back then and it is with much pleasure that I see that the observatory is still in use after all these nearly sixty years.

    “Keep lookin’ up—-“, as they say down here at the Kika Silva Pla
    Sincerely, John Vennerholm,
    Viera, Florida

    • Jaye Marklin May 4, 2021 / 5:02 pm

      Hi John.
      I restored that 50cm Cat for the Museum in 1993.
      Even sent optics to New York for re-Coating
      Great Scope ! 24″ Byers gears !!

      I’m sure eventually it will be made GO-TO.


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