Looking Up

For the first podcast created exclusively by Cincinnati Public Radio separate from its on-air programming, producers have reached for the stars and bring you Looking Up with the Cincinnati Observatory's Dean Regas and Anna Hehman. 

Looking Up brings you the latest astronomical discoveries,” according to Regas, “in a really fun, quick-paced conversation.  We’ll bring out-of-this-world topics about planets, stars, and the universe, science and technology, throw in a little pop-culture and bring it all down to Earth.”

During each episode, there will be conversations about current astronomical or science happenings, a special guest, then either a Kid Question or a letter from the Observatory's Crank File – a collection of wild, unusual, far-fetched and conspiratorial correspondences collected through the decades.

Dean Regas is the outreach astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory, co-host of the PBS series Star Gazers, and author of the books 100 Things to See in the Night Sky: From Planets and Satellites to Meteors and Constellations, Your Guide to Stargazing and Facts from Space. Anna Hehman is the Observatory's Director of Development with an innate curiosity about the cosmos.

“I'm excited to join Dean for Looking Up,” Hehman said. “We’ll talk about space, astronomy and cover all the questions a non-astronomer like me has for an astronomer like him.”

Looking Up is produced by Kevin Reynolds and engineered by Josh Elstro and Rick Andress, with technical assistance from Jim Nolan. 

Looking Up will release new episodes twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. Subscribe on iTunesStitcher or Google Play.


The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will, when it's operational, conduct a 10-year survey of the sky to provide an amazing amount of data to help answer ongoing questions about our universe.

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With the changing relationships between the US and countries once considered threats, concerns about the use of weapons in space remain.

Dean Regas and Anna Hehman delve into these concerns with Theresa Hitchens, former director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and now Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security Studies at Maryland.


The recent demise of the Mars Rover Opportunity recalled an article from The Atlantic from 2017 that discussed the humanization of these robots in the minds of many.

Dean Regas and Anna Hehman welcome the scientist interviewed in that article, Florence Tan, currently the deputy chief technologist of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

by Michael Wall and Karl Tate

A recent article on Space.com caught our attention, so this episode we're talking with the author of that article, Our Milky Way Will Crash into a Neighbor Galaxy Sooner Than You Think, Dr. Michael Wall.

He's a senior writer for Space.com and also author of the book Out There: A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel (For the Cosmically Curious), so you know he had a lot to talk about with Dean Regas and Anna Hehman.

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For more than three decades, Dave Eicher has been writing about space for Astronomy magazine.

The Oxford, Ohio native is now the editor and he joins Dean Regas and Anna Hehman to talk about how he got into astronomy, some things happening in 2019, and his book Mission Moon 3-D: A New Perspective on the Space Race written with astrophysicist and Queen guitarist, Dr. Brian May.

Dr. Jillian Scudder is an astrophysicist who teaches at Oberlin College in Ohio. She started a science blog in 2013 called Astroquizzical with an "ask the scientist" structure.

She's been answering questions ever since and recently released a book based on the blog, Astroquizzical: A Curious Journey Through Our Cosmic Family Tree

Charles Bolden, Jr. is a retired Marine Major General and astronaut who most recently was the administrator of NASA.

He joins Dean Regas and guest host Lauren Worley (who worked for Major General Bolden at NASA) to discuss his career and the state of space exploration today.


The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is one of the most iconic structures in the US, featured in a myriad of films and TV shows.

To find out about the mission of the Griffith and its place in pop culture, Dean Regas and Anna Hehman welcome its director, Dr. Edwin Krupp.


Books make great holiday gifts, and books about space make even BETTER gifts!

Children's book author Mary Kay Carson (Beyond the Solar System, Mission to Pluto) joins Dean Regas and Anna Hehman to talk about writing eductional, but fun, books for kids.


The Hubble Telescope has been an unmitigated success in providing new information about the cosmos. As its days wind down, a new, more powerful telescope called the Webb is preparing to launch.

Dr. Amber Straughn from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center joins Dean Regas and Anna Hehman with information about the bigger, more powerful James Webb Space Telescope.

What are the differences between astronomy and astrology, and what do practitioners of each think of the other?

John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States, was a proponent of science and astronomy and was at the dedication of the Cincinnati Observatory in 1843.

As the Observatory celebrates its 175th anniversary, Dean Regas and Anna Hehman talk with the former president (in the guise of reenactor Jim Cooke) about his presidency, his support of the creation of the Smithsonian, and hear part of his dedication speech.

Looking Up boldly goes where it's never gone before!

It's a very special episode with actor, author, and recording artist William Shatner which resulted in a meeting between host Dean Regas and the pop culture icon. Tune in as he recounts that momentous night to Anna Hehman.

In this episode of Looking Up, hosts Dean Regas and Anna Hehman welcome veteran NPR science correspondent Joe Palca to talk about his recent coverage of the Mars opposition, the Parker Solar Probe, and his series of reports called Joe's Big Idea.


In this episode of Looking Up, Dean Regas and Anna Hehman talk with the very busy Paul Sutter: astrophysicist at The Ohio State University, chief scientist at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, science advisor for the new movie UFO, and guide for Astro Tours.

In this episode of Looking Up, hosts Dean Regas and Anna Hehman learn about a program Dean's been a part of for many years, NASA's Solar System Ambassadors.

The program's coordinator, Kay Ferrari, talks about the importance of citizen outreach efforts to help educate the public about space.


In this episode of Looking Up, it's time to catch up on our first year and get ready for some upcoming space and pop culture events.

Hosts Dean Regas and Anna Hehman from the Cincinnati Observatory talk about the upcoming Perseid Meteor Shower, the Look Up effort headed by Dr. Mae Jemison, and the trailer from the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man is now out!

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In this episode of Looking Up, hosts Dean Regas and Anna Hehman from the Cincinnati Observatory get an insider's view of the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama – home to the famous Space Camps for kids – when they talk with Pat Ammons, the center's director of communications.


In this episode of Looking Up, urban astronomer Nick Lloyd joins hosts Dean Regas and Anna Hehman in the studio to talk about his backyard observatory and how he's able to view galaxies with the use of EAA – Electronically Assisted Astronomy.

Here's a link to the forum Nick mentioned: Cloudy Nights EAA Observation and Equipment


In this 1 year anniversary episode of Looking Up, Shankar Vedantam, NPR science correspondent and host of the podcast and weekly show Hidden Brain, joins Dean Regas and Anna Hehman to talk about the genesis of Hidden Brain, where the stories come from, and a bit on the mindset of astronauts.