DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION DRAFT AGREEMENT CONCERNING FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR A CHAMBERLIN MAIN TELESCOPE PREAMBLE 1. This document reflects continuing discussions between the Denver Astronomical Society, represented by its President, and the University of Denver Astronomy program, represented by the Director of Chamberlin Observatory. 2. This document intends to identify points of agreement in the current debate over the future of the Clark 20 inch aperture refractor, and to chart a mutually agreeable course of action to take advantage of opportunities that become available. Both parties agree that: (1) Chamberlin Observatory is a special place that deserves protection, and that its MISSION AND PURPOSE should include continued use for astronomical instruction, outreach and some level of research; (2) the Clark-Saegmuller telescope is an antique worthy of preservation in some form, but that in its current condition, it does not completely meet the needs of the observatory mission when compared with newer technology. THEREFORE both parties agree to continue discussions over the coming months, in order to identify mutual interests and the resources needed to optimize the mission of Chamberlin Observatory for at least the next quarter century. PART ONE: ALTERNATIVES (1) DO NOTHING; (2) RESTORE the Clark-Saegmuller to original form and function, in its pre- electrical state; (3) REBUILD the Clark optics into a modern mount arrangement; (4) REPLACE the Clark-Saegmuller with a completely new, large telescope, and placing the antique where it can be suitably housed, admired and/or used. COMMENTARY ON THE ALTERNATIVES: 1. This alternative is rejected if the intent to improve on the quality of astronomical instruction and outreach is a mutual priority. 2. We agree that full restoration of the Clark would limit its usefulness for astronomy, making it increasingly difficult to use and maintain, resulting the steady decline of the MISSION of Chamberlin Observatory, turning it into a museum with little active astronomy. This is not in the best interests of either party. 3. REBUILD -- Some of the needed work to improve the functionality of the exisiting 20 inch telescope includes: a. VISUAL IMAGE QUALITIES: chromatic aberration, astigmatism, low contrast -- For example: can we improve the optics by baffling and optically black coating the interior of the current tube assembly to increase contrast; check and improve the optics by looking at the spacing and orientation of the lens system to increase the effectiveness from the current suspected 1/4-1/2 wave. b. POINTING AND TRACKING: Reconstruct the mount to permit dual manual and computer controls for pointing, tracking and guiding. c. FOCAL PLANE: The present limited area makes modern camera use difficult, and inefficent for mounting and remounting. Rebuilding the focus end with adequate carrying capacity for CCDs and electrical service is desired. d. SAFETY: The vertical ladder poses an increasingly serious safety hazard and needs remediation. e. METAL FATIGUE: There is some evidence for mechanical failure of nuts and bolts that hold the old scope together -- this needs proper inspection. Additionally, in the words of one DAS Public Night operator: "improvements for the Clark 20" would include: Optical performance, including adding baffles and flocking the inside of the tube. Easier to use setting circles. Some of the older guys have trouble even seeing the dec. scale through the periscope. Ideally we would want something accurate enough to find objects without using the RA sweep method. Slow motion controls - mechanical repair to aid usability. If possible, an electric slow motion in RA that would speed up or slow down the drive motor." 4. REPLACEMENT of the existing telescope with the proposed 36 inch reflector (upgradeable to 50 inches) would address all points enumerated under commentary for alternative 2, plus provide superior light gathering power, etc. Note: this assumes sufficient funds and neighborhood agreement to build a north wing and second dome are beyond practicality at present. PART TWO: BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE Approximately $250,000 in repairs have been identified ifor Chamberlin Observatory in the Colorado State Historical Society mandated "Preservation Master Plan" of 1998. These include problems with electrical wiring, plumbing, heating system, floor damage related to the heating system, serious wood rot on nearly all the exterior window frames, plaster failures, inadequate fire and security alarm system, etc., as well as strategies for Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accommodations, which we agree are important. Therefore, it is a priority to complete the preservation master plan to improve the building's condition. Beyond the preservation master plan, there is the mutual desire to expand the building for the purposes of ADA, an improved meeting space ("digital classroom"), to provide decent restrooms and storage, etc. should such an opportunity arise and be fundable. PART THREE: SCHEDULE (Time is money; education and outreach opportunities are being lost) The DAS agrees to: A. tbd DU agrees to: A. Work with suitable partners to complete the Preservation Master Plan. (end) draft revision 2, 3/17/2000
(a) restore the Clark-Saegmuller refractor to its historically accurate condition, and continue public outreach programs with DAS collaboration;
(b) address code and ADA problems with the building, per the preservation master plan developed in conjuction with a building preservation grant from state historical society;
(c) recapture the research and training component for which Chamberlin was intended, but has lost due to antiquated equipment and infrastructure. This latter goal can be achieved by adding a modern telescope, and taking advantage of digital communications.