Side A: On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union surprised the world with the launching of Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite. The Cincinnati Astronomical Society’s Moonwatch Team, organized in 1956 as part of its participation in the International Geophysical Year, was immediately activated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (S.A.O.). First observations of satellites were made December 15, 1957. On these grounds, from 1957 to 1964, the Cincinnati Moonwatch Team, principally under the leadership of Tom Van Flandern (1940-2009), spent thousands of man-hours optically observing and recording data to verify the positions of satellites in space. Many times the team compiled the best satellite tracking records in the world. Because of this work The Moonwatch Team and the Cincinnati Astronomical Society were recognized by the S.A.O. as one of its leading teams worldwide.
Side B: The Cincinnati Astronomical Society (C.A.S.) was founded in 1911 by Dr. Delisle Stewart, formerly an astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory in Mt. Lookout. Unsatisfied with the research being done there, Stewart envisioned a state-of-the-art astronomical observatory featuring a 27″ diameter telescope, the largest in Ohio. Citizens responded to Stewart’s concept by buying bonds to fund the new observatory. By the late 1930s construction began on the facility just north of this site. The Great Depression took its toll, however, and the observatory was never completed. The C.A.S. successfully transformed into an amateur society and continues to offer public astronomy programs and educational activities for schools, scouts, families, and C.A.S. members.