Welcome to Warren Rupp Oservatory...
Come join us in an evening that you will never forget. Either we will do something incredibly stupid and you will always remember our group, or you will see something you have never seen before. You may learn something new about our universe and possibly yourself. Many of our previous visitors and members have pursued Astronomy as a vocation. This could be a starting point... It's out there! (And it's just down the road...)
The Observatory houses one of the largest, computer assisted amateur operated telescopes of its type in the world. This massive mount holds a 36 inch diameter mirror, made by Mike Lockwood of Lockwood Custom Optics. The dome is huge. The telescope is huge. You've got to see it to believe it! Perhaps you would like a tour? Or just to explore our history? Then follow the links on the left...
The Richland Astronomical Society operates the facility and holds its monthly club meetings at 7:00 p.m. prior to the public opening. Come join us and find out why we are Astro-Nuts. Listen to us discuss the possibility of life on Mars, the latest info on Black Holes, new comets, space flight and NASA, and even just a good old Taurus Session. You are very welcome to join our meeting, listen to our ideas and add your own input.
Bring your telescope! If you don't know how to use it one of our staff will show you. If it doesn't work we may even be able to fix it. And bring your camera... Take a picture through the big telescope! You can brag that you used the largest telephoto lens in the area. You'll find us a very family oriented organization and we welcome all "stargazers"... Even "stargeezers"!
We believe that Science is for everyone. Don't worry for one second that you're not educated enough to join us for a great evening - or too young or old. Our goal is to make astronomy fun and enjoyable for all of our visitors!
How To Find Us...
The Warren Rupp Observatory is situated in the beautiful rolling hills of north central Ohio just southeast of Mansfield. The observatory is located on the grounds of Hidden Hollow Camp about 6.5 miles east of the intersection of SR-13 and interstate 71 on Opossum Run Road. Close, but not too close to Snow Trails Ski Area. Yes, that's "Opossum" like the furry nocturnal animal that closely resembles some of our membership. Or is it the other way around? Anyway, about 6 miles down O'Possum Run Road you will come to a "Z" curve - be careful not to go straight! After you pass completely through the turns you will come across the entrance to Hidden Hollow Camp on your left. Enter Hidden Hollow Camp and go up the hill until you see the observatory on the right. For you folks that are more or less local, you can get on Opossum Run Road off of S.R. 95 and it's about 3 miles along. Here's some links to convenient maps:
What To Expect...
If this is your first visit to an Observatory, don't be worried. We love our family oriented atmosphere and we love to share. You'll find our ClubHouse comfy and well-appointed should you need to sit and rest in a relaxed environment and it is heated during the cold months. Modern restroom facilities are available on premise and almost all areas are handicapped accessible - just simply park behind the dome to access the upper level, or use the graded runway to the ClubHouse level. Parking is available in front of the ClubHouse/Dome Area.
Don't forget... Astronomy happens outside, so dress accordingly! Plan to spend your evening outdoors and provide for your comfort. You are welcome to bring camp chairs, blankets, food and beverages. If you do not have chairs, there are always a few around to make your evening more enjoyable. Because we are outdoors, remember that you are exposed to poison ivy should you wander into the woods - and noctural wildlife and insects. There is never any danger, but small children should be supervised.
Please remember that Warren Rupp Observatory is located on private grounds. You are welcome to tour or have a look at the facility - but you must make prior arrangements. During your visit, you are expected to stay in the Observatory area. It's impolite to wander around private homes!
What If It's Raining Or Cloudy?
No worries. We always have some type of program on our public nights - no matter what the weather may bring! During the months of December, January and February, the Observatory is closed to the public. It's not that we mind the cold... But the driveway is steep and we do not wish our visitors to take any chances with ice and snow. Both the Dome and the ClubHouse are sheltered, so always expect to catch the latest astronomy video and some of the best astronomy programs you'll find anywhere!
How Much Does It Cost?
Not a thing. We love astronomy and all the work we do is strictly volunteer. Unless we are giving a program where we need to supply expensive materials, there is never any fee for attending a program. Of course, we do appreciate donations... It can be monentary, if you like - but we very much appreciate astronomy books, astronomy related toys, astronomy videos, old telescopes and even astronomy knick-knacks!
We know the hobby of astronomy is expensive - and that's why we have telescopes that are meant for public use. That's right! We have telescopes that YOU can use, too! If you're not sure of which one? Just ask any of our friendly, helpful staff and they will guide you to your own scope and show you how to use it.
Our programs are well suited to visitors of all ages and education levels. Expect to laugh and become part of the program! You'll find no boring professors here. Our staff is well trained in public outreach and you'll go home knowing more about distant galaxies, black holes, planets, the Moon, the Sun, and more...
Each month we give a new program based on lessons learned through the NASA Night Sky Network. These are fast-paced, interactive and highly entertaining. In addition, we also give programs on the latest in space exploration, astronomy related topics, and offer videos where you can watch and learn at your own pace. Ask us about giving special programs to your scouts, groups or classes!
All of those who attend our programs get a raffle ticket and we draw for special door prizes at the end of every program!!