The Ladd Observatory will be honored with a Rhody Award for the restoration of its Transit Room, which once provided the celestial standard for keeping time in Providence. The award will be presented Thursday, Oct. 18, in Newport by Preserve Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. The Transit Room project, most of which was completed in 2010, restored the room to look much as it did when the observatory was built in 1890-91, including the restoration of mechanical hatches that open the roof to a contiguous view of the night sky. The work was supported by a grant from Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Brown University, and an anonymous donor. By tracking stars as they passed a fixed meridian, the transit telescope provided a consistent time standard used to calibrate the observatory’s master clocks. From 1893 to 1916, Ladd’s time standard was sent via telegraph to businesses and government offices in downtown Providence, where it was used to synchronize clocks and watches. The Ladd Observatory is open the public free of charge on Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m., weather permitting.

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