‘Astronomy on the Lawn’ offers stellar views


By Rhonda Bletner - [email protected]



Bishop William Montgomery Brown lounges in his study at Brownella. Brown (September 4, 1855 – October 31, 1937) was an Episcopal clergyman who owned Brownella Cottage. He also loved astronomy.

Bishop William Montgomery Brown lounges in his study at Brownella. Brown (September 4, 1855 – October 31, 1937) was an Episcopal clergyman who owned Brownella Cottage. He also loved astronomy.


File photo

GALION — The Galion History Center will partner with the Crawford County Park District Astronomy Club for an “Astronomy on the Lawn” event Saturday, June 18 at 9:30 p.m. at Brownella Cottage, 132 S. Union St. Guests will enjoy a look at the best our galaxy has to offer with the help of the Astronomy Club’s high powered telescopes.

Brownella Cottage and the Galion History Museum and gift shop will be open for self-guided tours, as well. Admission is the regular $7 per adult and $5 per child (6+).

Bishop Brown, the sole owner of the historic mansion, was an avid astronomer and even taught an Astronomy class at the Galion High School in the 1920s. The Bishop’s third floor observatory porch, not open for regular tours, will be open to visitors for this event exclusively.

In a 2021 article in the Galion Inquirer by the late Bernard M. Mansfield, M.D., Mansfield wrote, “In the 1920s, [Bishop Brown] held regular sessions in what was once the old carriage house, but what is now the Galion Historical Museum. He used to call it Brownella Hall.”

Bishop William Montgomery Brown, D.D., delivered 12 lectures on science and religion in Brownella Hall. One of his lectures was titled, “The Silence of the Stars.”

Mansfield wrote, “The Bishop knew what he was talking about. He had a small landing on the big house from which he watched the stars with a telescope.”

More about this stellar opportunity

The Crawford Park District Astronomy Club will have some very special equipment at “Astronomy on the Lawn.”

“We have one of the premier telescopes of the world there, and we’re planing on bringing it to Brownella,” said club organizer Dan Everly, “It’s called a Stellina and it has no eye piece. What it does is, we tell it what we want to look at in the sky and it will automatically go to the target; and then it starts taking a photograph every ten seconds.

“As it keeps taking photos, it stacks them, just like Photoshop on your computer, and then it will WiFi them to people’s phones. So when they go home, they will have deep sky photos on their phones. They look like pictures from an astronomy magazine—they’re beautiful.”

The telescope is highly portable, Everly explained, and they transport it to schools and organizations like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to share its technology.

The club received a Richland County grant as a result of COVID recovery that covered the cost of the $5,000 telescope for the Warren Rupp Observatory. “We wrote a grant that explained how you can social distance and still use this telescope and they gave us the money,” Everly added. An astronomer friend told him they were probably the first club in Ohio to obtain a Stellina telescope.

They subsequently used a grant to obtain a Stellina for Lowe-Volk Park as well.

There will be several high-power telescopes at the Galion History Center’s event. Everly said they hope to show visitors M13, the Hercules Cluster, which is located 25,000 light-years from Earth.

Though Bishop Brown used a platform on the third floor of Brownella, it isn’t very accomodating for more than a couple of people. The astronomers’ telescopes will likely be set up in the park next to Brownella which will not only accomodate more people but also deflect some of the light pollution from streetlights. However, Everly said Bishop Brown’s observation deck will still be open for visitors to see.

The club will report the demographic attendance at the Galion event to NASA. Everly said, “At one time, we were #4 in the country for public outreach.”

The long-range forecast calls for clear weather Saturday night.

The astronomy club is also affiliated with the Warren Rupp Observatory on Possum Run Road near Bellville.

Amateur astrononomers meet the fourth and fifth Saturday of each month at Lowe-Volk Park and visitors are welcome.

Bishop William Montgomery Brown lounges in his study at Brownella. Brown (September 4, 1855 – October 31, 1937) was an Episcopal clergyman who owned Brownella Cottage. He also loved astronomy.
https://www.galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2022/06/web1_web1_GAL092521_HISTORY.jpgBishop William Montgomery Brown lounges in his study at Brownella. Brown (September 4, 1855 – October 31, 1937) was an Episcopal clergyman who owned Brownella Cottage. He also loved astronomy. File photo

By Rhonda Bletner

[email protected]