U-M's observatory celebrates 150 years; its telescopes still intact
DATE: June 17: Light refreshments 4 p.m.; ceremony 4:30 p.m.; public tours at 5 p.m.
June 19: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. public open house, tours.
EVENT: The University of Michigan celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of Detroit Observatory in Ann Arbor. In the 1850s, the telescopes were among the largest in the world. Today, the observatory is the oldest in America to retain its original telescopes in their mounts.
Detroit Observatory was the centerpiece of the vision held by U-M’s first president, Henry Philip Tappan, to transform the fledgling University into one of the first research universities in the United States, following the Prussian model of higher education.
The sesquicentennial celebration will honor Tappan's family and other descendents of observatory supporters, as well as the vision and generosity of the observatory's original benefactors from the city of Detroit.
The observatory has a history of success, including:
• The discovery at the observatory of 21 minor planets by James Watson, and two comets by J. Martin Schaeberle.
• The timekeeping service it provided during the mid-nineteenth century for the Great Lakes region.
• The longitude determination made in 1861 in collaboration with the United States Lake Survey, which became the fundamental reference point for all subsequent land surveys from Detroit across the Western states.
The observatory, which is now a museum, is dedicated to furthering research and educational activities related to 19th century science, technology, and culture, and to imparting this knowledge through its programs, instructional activities and publications.
PLACE: Detroit Observatory, 1398 E. Ann St. at Observatory Street, Ann Arbor.
CONTACT: Detroit Observatory, (734) 763-2230, DetroitObservatory@umich.edu
SPONSOR: Office of the Provost
WEB LINK: www.DetroitObservatory.umich.edu
Contact: Laura Lessnau