CAA Observatory

CAA Observatory - Photo by Alan Studt

CAA Observatory – Photo by Alan Studt

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association Observatory and how to get there…

The CAA observatory was dedicated July 21, 2001 and is located at Medina County’s Letha House Park, due east of Spencer, Ohio. Many years of effort went into making the dream of a permanent club observatory a reality. It houses several club-owned telescopes which are available for member use (see rules below). The observatory is operated in cooperation with the Medina County Park District (which owns the property).

Google Map to CAA Observatory
5800-5994 Richman Road – Just North of Spencer Lake Road
Spencer, OH 44275

LATITUDE: 41.113413
LONGITUDE: -82.061010
ELEVATION: 1,005 ft.

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CAA Observatory Public Nights

2017 Schedule

Saturday, June 3: Public star party starting at 9:00 PM
Saturday, July 29: Public star party starting at 9:00 PM
Saturday, August 26: Public star party starting at 9:00 PM
Saturday, September 9: Public star party starting at 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 7: Public star party starting at 8:00 PM

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Attending a Public Night?

Many times during the year, and following public programs, members of the CAA bring their telescopes out and allow the general public to view lunar, planetary, and deep sky objects. It is a great opportunity to look through different telescopes and compare them. Public Nights are outdoor events so attendees should be prepared for seasonal variations in temperature and general conditions. Telescope use depends upon skies clear enough for us to see celestial objects — overcast conditions will cancel any viewing, though an indoor program will be presented as an alternative. Of course, nighttime means darkness, so be careful when walking around the star party area; avoid stumbling for your own safety and to prevent damage to telescopes! If you need to bring a flashlight, bring one that shines red light if possible or, at the very least, point the light beam at the ground just ahead of you not towards the telescopes. Bright white light can ruin dark-adapted vision and our view of a beautiful night!

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Presentations are for individuals ages 10 to adult.
Cancellations will only be made in the case of severe thunderstorms.
No registration required.
There is no fee to attend.

To register for public programs, call the park office at:
(330) 722-9364, (330) 225-7100 ext. 9364, or (330) 336-6657 ext 9364.

The observatory opens for scheduled public nights at dusk, weather conditions permitting.

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How to get there:

From the North or South:

  • Take I-71 to the Brunswick exit (Exit 226 / State Route 303).
  • At the end of the ramp, turn West onto Rt. 303.
  • Take Rt. 303 West to Rt. 83. Turn left onto Rt. 83 (South).
  • Follow Rt. 83 past Rt. 18 to Spencer Lake Road.
  • Turn right onto Spencer Lake Road (West).
  • Take Spencer Lake Road to Richman Road and turn right. Up the rise and on the left (west) side of the road is the entry drive to the parking lot serving the Observatory and lake area. The drive and entry were newly created in 2009.

From the East:

  • Take your best route to Rt. 83. Turn onto Rt. 83.
  • Follow Rt. 83 to Spencer Lake Road (see map for directions).
  • Turn onto Spencer Lake Road (West).
  • Take Spencer Lake Road to Richman Road and turn right. Up the rise and on the left (west) side of the road is the entry drive to the parking lot serving the Observatory and lake area. The drive and entry were newly created in 2009.

CAA Observatory Rules

REVISED: 1-14-11

  1. You must be a current, paid-up member of CAA to have observatory privileges.
  2. You must have a current permit from the Medina County Park District to use the observatory and to be on park property at night after the park closes. These permits are available from CAA officers at our monthly meetings.
  3. CAA members must call park headquarters at (330) 722-9364 during the day, or the Medina County Sheriff’s Department at (330) 725-6631 during the evening to let them know you will be on park property and at the observatory after hours when the park is closed to the public.
  4. The rules of the CAA and the Medina County Park District must be followed by anyone using the observatory and the park facilities.
  5. The current rules of the Medina County Park District shall supersede any pertinent CAA rules.
  6. CAA members who wish to use the observatory must first be trained and certified in the use of the telescopes and the roll-off roof mechanism and other equipment, and will need to sign a document covering liability and equipment damage. Please contact the observatory director to arrange for this training.
  7. The Letha House building is now being rented to private groups by the park system. If the building and grounds have been rented by a private group, our observatory will not be available for CAA use until after 10 p.m. We cannot set up telescopes or take space in the parking lot until then. If you are planning to use the observatory, please check first with the Medina County Park District website to see if Letha House has been rented for that evening.
  8. Park in the parking lot or in other designated parking areas only. In order to prevent damage to the park’s underground geothermal and septic systems, driving on the grass is not permitted at any time.
  9. All persons must sign in upon arrival at the observatory. A sign-up sheet will be located in the observatory.
  10. If the Letha House building is used, one person must sign in on the clipboard located in our observatory and indicate the number of people on site. The posted rules for the use of the building and grounds must be followed.
  11. The observatory building is for club equipment only; storage of personal equipment is not allowed.
  12. Public stargazing programs take precedence over private use of the observatory.
  13. Visual use of the telescopes is a group activity intended for everyone. Individuals are limited to the use of one telescope at a time unless operating alone. Visual use has priority over photography.
  14. Special-event photography is by reservation only. Contact the observatory director and/or club president to request a date and time.
  15. Club members are responsible for maintaining the condition of equipment they use during their session at the observatory.
  16. The observatory should be left in the same or better condition than when you arrived. Return items to their proper location, dispose of any litter and refuse, turn off the lights and any other electrical equipment, make sure the roll-off roof is closed and locked down, and the entrance door is locked.
  17. In case of emergency, call the county sheriff at (330) 725-6631. Please notify the observatory director and/or club president of any emergencies or other problems.
  18. Anyone who breaks the observatory use rules, the Medina County Park District rules, or who does any damage to the park or to the observatory, will lose their site privileges, and be subject to revocation of club membership at the discretion of the CAA Board of Directors.

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