Warren Rupp Observatory

Welcome to the Warren Rupp Observatory, home to one of the largest telescopes open to the public. Our remarkable 36-inch diameter reflector telescope affectionately called “Big Blue” offers unparalleled views of the cosmos, inviting enthusiasts and curious minds alike to explore the wonders of the universe. Operated with passion by the members of the Richland Astronomical Society, we are committed to enhancing public awareness and appreciation of astronomy. Here, the mysteries of the night sky unfold, offering an unforgettable adventure among the stars.

Situated at 5127 Possum Run Road in Bellville, OH 44813, our observatory is nestled within the serene premises of Hidden Hollow Camp. Visitors should keep an eye out for the Hidden Hollow Camp sign to find us easily. The observatory’s location and the society’s active engagement make it a great spot for astronomical exploration and learning.

Next Public Night

Saturday August 3rd, 2024

7:30 PM Member Meeting (public welcome to attend)

8:30 PM Presentation  – To Be Announced

9:30 PM (approximately) – Start observing  if clear!

On the first Saturday of every month (March through November), we are open to the public! If there is minimal cloud cover on these public nights, there will be an opportunity to view through the big scope as well as a variety of personal scopes. If weather is cloudy, there will be a program and folks who will be happy to take you on a tour of the observatory. We welcome all visitors! Not only will you have access to view through this magnificent scope, but our members also have a variety of telescopes to help assist you on your celestial journey. Please feel free to also bring your own equipment.

If you want to look through the telescopes, please take a look outside or check a weather forecast before you head out to see us.

Public night dates for 2024.

  • March 2, 2024
  • April 6, 2024
  • May 4, 2024
  • June 1, 2024
  • July 6, 2024
  • August 3, 2024
  • September 7, 2024
  • October 5, 2024
  • November 2, 2024

If you are interested in visiting the observatory, an outreach program, or having us come and visit your group or school, please click on the Request A Program tab.

Calendar of Events

The Richland Astronomical Society holds our monthly club meetings prior to the public opening. 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.

We believe that Science is for everyone. Don’t worry for one second that you’re not knowledgeable 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!

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. Modern restroom facilities are available on premise and almost all areas are handicapped accessible. 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 nocturnal wildlife and insects. Small children should be supervised.

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! Both the Dome and the Education Building are sheltered, so always expect to catch the latest astronomy video and some of the best astronomy programs you’ll find anywhere! 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.

How Much Does It Cost?

Not a thing. We love astronomy and all the work we do is strictly volunteer. Of course, we do appreciate donations… It can be monetary, 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.

Also, Join us for Lowe-Volk Park Observing on the 4th Saturday of the Month (March-November)!

Lowe-Volk Park is 38 acres in size and features an award-winning Nature Center, one and one-half miles of hiking trails that visit three streams including the start of the Sandusky River in Ohio, a picnic area, catch and release fishing in the pond, fishing in the streams, fern covered sandstone ledges, forests, wetlands, a pond, and open fields. The Lowe-Volk Park Nature Center features a classroom, 17 interpretive nature and local history exhibits, live reptile and amphibian displays, a bird feeder and butterfly garden observation room, and equipment for student use in programs such as binoculars, nets, hand lenses, etc. The park is located on State Route 598 three miles north of Galion. The Nature Center is handicapped accessible and has restrooms available. Click here for more information. Click here for a map to Lowe-Volk Park.

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