Welcome to the virtual tour of the University of Denver's historic Chamberlin Observatory.

1. View of the archway, balcony and dome from the south stairs.

You are invited to join the FRIENDS OF CHAMBERLIN OBSERVATORY: a coalition of persons interested in the history and preservation of the old Observatory and its continuity of use for astronomy teaching and public outreach. Write to us for a newsletter. Limited edition histories of the observatory are now available [click here].


Colorado makes the starry sky appear all the more magnificent. The study of the sky from Colorado predates the arrival of European settlers in the region, as witnessed by the supernova petroglyphs in Chaco Canyon and the star-oriented Medicine Wheels of Wyoming. Indigenous peoples undoubtedly made use of the changing constellations for clocking the seasons, in ceremonials and foretelling events. Modern astronomy in the region has its roots in the vision of John Evans, founder of Northwestern University and territorial governor of Colorado, who organized the University of Denver (Colorado Seminary) in 1864. One of the early faculty appointments was made to Dean Herbert Alonzo Howe, as Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy. The story of astronomy at Denver and Chamberlin Observatory begins with this man.

(Continued on subsequent pages).

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1996, R.E.Stencel for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Denver. Updated 2011 April 24.