18 Ways to Explore Space with the Library and Cincinnati Observatory

Written by Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Marketing, Downtown Main Library

Earthlings, this is the Library, do you copy? Humanity is getting a closer look at the mysteries of deep space thanks to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, opens a new window. As we are shown glimpses of never-before-seen nebulas and stars, you can make your own galactic discoveries at the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library. In honor of the 18 gold-coated hexagonal segments on the Webb Telescope’s primary mirror, here are 18 ways you can explore space at the Library.

1. Gaze into the Night Sky by Borrowing a Telescope

The Library has partnered with Dean Regas, astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory, to lend Orion StarBlast 4.5-inch astronomical telescopes at nine CHPL branch libraries. Learn how to check out a telescope, opens a new window and make your own discoveries.

2. Learn From an Astronomer

Get familiar with telescopes from someone who knows a thing or two about exploring the stars. Watch Dean Regas, astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory, as he shares how to use a library telescope to view the moon, mars, and more!

3. Gather for a Library Storytime at the Observatory

Bring the entire family to enjoy books, songs, and activities right outside an out-of-this-world observatory. Register for free, weekly storytimes, opens a new window in the shade of the Cincinnati Observatory for stellar stories for all ages.

4. Build STEM Skills in Fun-filled, Educational Events

Choose from hundreds of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) events hosted for free across CHPL’s 41 neighborhood branches. Rocket Night at the Observatory, opens a new window, LEGO Robotics, opens a new window, Animals Alive!, opens a new window, and more, opens a new window await aspiring astronauts.

5. Discover Summer

Kids and teens can make their own discoveries all summer long through Discover Summer, opens a new window, CHPL’s free summer learning program. Hundreds of programs, events, meals, prizes, and more are waiting to be found – until August 1!

6. Explore Our Local Galaxy with a Discovery Pass

Get inspired at some of Cincinnati most iconic attractions for free with a Discovery Pass, opens a new window! Explore the Milky Way and beyond at one of the Great Parks of Hamilton County, opens a new window or learn something new at the Cincinnati Museum Center, opens a new window.

7. Learn Cutting Edge Skills from O’Reilly

Access O'Reilly for Public Library’s, opens a new window online learning content and tools to learn technical aspects of scientific discovery. Check out unlimited access to over 50,000 titles, 30,000 hours of video, case studies from top companies, learning paths, expert playlists, and more—with nearly 1,000 topics in a range of content formats tailored to all levels.

8. From Astronauts to Zeniths, Read Magazines on any Topic

From Popular Science to National Geographic, hundreds of issues covering everything from astronauts to zeniths are available now through the Libby app, opens a new window.

9. Send Your Own Message to Ground Control

Space and songs go hand in hand – just ask Commander Chris Hadfield who shared a viral cover, opens a new window of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Find cosmic instrumentals or tunes that rock so hard they must be from another planet on Hoopla or Freegal, opens a new window.

10. View a Movie from A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away

Bring the wonders of the galaxy home through movies and television shows including Hidden Figures, opens a new window and 2001, A Space Odyssey, opens a new window.

11. Learn That This is the Way… to 3D Print

From creating tools on the International Space Station to potentially creating habitable structures on Mars, 3D printing is technology every spacefaring explorer should know. Practice creating scientific tools – or something a little more fun, opens a new window – at the MakerSpace’s two 3D printers.

12. Find Out That Discovery is in Our Genes

Interested in traveling to distant galaxies shown by the Webb Telescope? If so, humans need to ensure our bodies can sustain prolonged space travel. Attend this year’s Mary S. Stern Lecture Series, opens a new window to hear Walter Isaacson share insights from his latest book, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, opens a new window, and its gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

13. Make Your Own Constellation

For thousands of years people have looked up and created stories out of the stars. Make your own pictures and stories out of stars with Dean Regas, astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory. Use your imagination to create animals, people, objects, or even… aliens!

14. Become NASA’s Newest Astronaut

Inspired to work on groundbreaking scientific projects like the Webb Telescope? Apply for a new career in space, technology, science, and more with tools from the Library, opens a new window.

15. Relive That One Small Step for Man

“MEN WALK ON MOON” Relive scientific milestones that moved our knowledge of space forward with ProQuest. Search decades of historical newspapers, magazines, and more, including the iconic cover on The New York Times, opens a new window the day we first stepped on the lunar surface.

16. Learn What It Takes in the Science Reference Center

Lift off with access to 90 full-text science magazines, more than 270 reference books and nearly 1,300 full text biographies using the Science Reference Center, opens a new window, free with your library card. Explore topics including physical science, applied science, earth and space science, history of science, life science, and much more.

17. Learn the Latest Issues on TOPICsearch

Gain a wider lens on the current events, social, political, and economic issues, scientific discoveries, and other popular classroom topics that led to this monumental accomplishment with another great library online resource: TOPICsearch, opens a new window.

18. Craft Your Own Telescope – and Much More!

Astro origami, opens a new window, embroidered constellations, opens a new window, and lunar nighlights, opens a new window are just a few otherworldly creations you can make here on terra firma. Creativebug, opens a new window has more than 1,000 videos for all skill levels, taught by artists and experts, and is free with your library card.

What are you excited about seeing from images delivered by the James Webb Space Telescope? Let us know in the comments below.