Q. When will the John Glenn Astronomy Park be open?
A. JGAP will open to the public on Thursday June 21, 2018. Our Opening Ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. on that day and will culminate with the sunset through the Summer Solstice Slot on our Plaza. On the June 22 and 23 we will be featuring a series of programs for the public at which we will, weather permitting, be opening up the observatory to allow people to view the skies through our telescopes. Until that day, however, the site is closed to the public.
Q. When will you be doing programs for the public?
A. Beginning on June 23, we will be doing weekly programs for members of the public. Starting sometime in late August or Early September, we anticipate doing two weekly programs. During the month of July, we will be doing daytime programs on Saturday. Once the date of our Grand Opening comes near, we will be informing people of the specific times and dates of our programs.
Q. What if the weather is bad?
A. Astronomy is, alas, at the mercy of the weather- and Ohio's weather is notoriously fickle. All programs are weather contingent. If it is raining or extremely cloudy, the public program will be cancelled that night (or that day in the case of daytime programs). Once the date of our Grand Opening comes near, we will be informing people of the specific times and dates of our programs and providing up-to-date information on weather conditions on this website and those of the Hocking Hills State Park.
Q. Can I bring my own telescope to observe with?
A. Of course! The JGAP was originally conceived as a place where members of the public who are interested in stargazing can enjoy the night sky at a location that is free of light pollution. At our entrance gate there will be a kiosk that will feature a computer where visitors will sign in. This will inform the Hocking Hills park officers of your presence. No one will be permitted use the site without signing in at the kiosk first.
Q. Do I have to have a telescope to use JGAP?
A. For some, the best stargazing is done with the binoculars we were born with- our eyes! So, all are welcome, telescope or not!
Q. Can I camp at the John Glenn Astronomy Park?
A. Camping will not be permitted on the site. However, the site will be open to the public 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (except for special events), and, if you've got the stamina to stay up all night, there's nothing to keep you from enjoying the sky all night long.
The Hocking Hills State Park has several nearby camping areas and many cabins for rental. The broader Hocking Hills region is home to many bed-and breakfasts, cabins, and small resorts. Information about the Hocking Hills State Park campsite and cabin rentals can be found here. Information about private accommodations can be found here.
Q. Can I bar-b-Que, Grill, or bring a picnic or lawn chair?
A. The light from campfires and grills disturbs those who attempt to use the site, and produces ashes that will soil telescope optics, so any form of open flame will not be permitted on the site. However, if you'd like to lay down a blanket or set up a lawn chair, please feel free! (Blankets are especially appropriate for nights in which meteor showers predicted).