Dean Regas, 43, is an astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Q. What are your typical lectures like?
A. Normally I give about a 20-minute classroom presentation, to small groups of under 40 people. Afterward we go to the dome, where visitors take turns looking through the telescope. I talk about what they’re seeing and the history of our telescope. Ours is the oldest public one in the United States.
Since last month’s eclipse, I’m expanding these talks. Everyone’s talking about it. Experiencing it myself is re-energizing. I want to share my love of the heavens with others.
I’ve never taken an astronomy course. My bachelor’s is in history and my master’s is in secondary education. I was leading nature walks and lecturing at the nature center in a Cincinnati park, Burnet Woods, when I was transferred to the planetarium there.
I had a week to learn about astronomy before my first lecture, to a group of Girl Scouts. I didn’t even know where the North Star is.
How did you learn astronomy?
I started by trying to identify stars and constellations visible to the naked eye. The planetarium at Burnet Woods was a good teaching tool because I could simulate everything on the roof of the dome. It helped me figure out where celestial objects are throughout the year and how they move across the sky, which is never in a straight line. Then I used sky simulation software on a computer, which I still use today.
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