Help Chamberlin Observatory survive another century!

     Sustainability - a word heard increasingly these days. The University of Denver's historic Chamberlin Observatory has been sustained by academic and community interests for over 100 years. The winning formula involves honoring the past and building for the future. The accomplishment of our nineteenth century forebears in wild west Denver is amazing. Few places in metro Denver exhibit a major telescope that was state-of-the-art when railroads ruled the west.
     And that telescope is still in working condition and used many nights each week for classes and public access. Our goal is to continue sharing views of the stars with interested persons, using that telescope, and beyond. Astronomy can provide a wholesome night-time activity for youth.
     During the past two decades, we have been fortunate to restore the building with two state historic grants and matching money help from DU, the University Park neighborhood and the Denver Astronomical Society - the first phase, during the mid-1990s that addressed roof and basement failures, and the second phase - during the past decade, addressed building electrical and internal conditions.  The telescope received a major overhaul during 2010 and 2011, mainly from astronomy program funds and sweat equity.  The missing piece today is staffing - with DU funds suffering losses in purchasing power, it's not clear how much longer we will be able to afford even part-time help.  While volunteer help is wonderful and essential, building coordination is essential and the need for maintenance oversight is ongoing.  Hence, we are seeking help once more in a combined effort by DU, University Park, the DAS and you, to help us begin to create a special endowment fund to insure that dedicated staff will be able to care for the observatory and its programs well into the future, long after we current stakeholders have moved on.

If you can help us, consider sending a tax-deductible check to the Chamberlin Fund (we can also accept PayPal or other transfers).  Make check payable to UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, CHAMBERLIN ENDOWMENT FUND  and mail care of: Dr. Robert Stencel, Chamberlin Observatory, 2930 E. Warren Ave.,  Denver, CO 80208 USA.  Thank you.  All contributions will be acknowledged.  Donation options exist, including PAYPAL/credit cards -  email to arrange an invoice. 

     We continue to offer special viewings of upcoming astronomical events, free access to Internet telescopes, on request, and participation in a global star-count effort at . The latter program involves monitoring the relentless advance of light pollution which is destroying our views of the night sky. Beyond these efforts, we are working toward a time when DU's historic Chamberlin Observatory also can accommodate daytime visits by school groups and provide appropriate access for the disabled.
     To sustain DU's historic Chamberlin Observatory, we want you and your family to visit. Learn the sky, join the astronomy club , take an astronomy class, learn about the history of the observatory. Help us if you can with planned gifts. In these ways, our living connection with the sky can be sustained. Visit the Web site for more information.
--Dr. Robert Stencel, Professor of Astronomy, University of Denver and Director of DU Observatories. - 1-15-2008, Denver.

Jan. 2006:

New guidebook to DU's historic Chamberlin Observatory

We are pleased to announce the publication of DENVER's GREAT TELESCOPE -- a richly illustrated 100 page guide to the great refractor and its environs, by C. & R. Stencel. Copies available at $15 postpaid. Mail request and check payable to: University of Denver, and send to: Prof. Stencel, Chamberlin Observatory, University of Denver, Denver CO 80208 USA, and include your return address info. Proceeds support observatory programs. While supplies last.
Sept. 2003:

The definitive history of Chamberlin Observatory still available

We are pleased to announce that the first version of the biography of Prof. Howe, DENVER'S PIONEER ASTRONOMER, founder of Chamberlin Observatory, by H.J.Howe and R.E.Stencel, is now available in desktop publication form [230 pages, spiral bound]. To order postpaid, please mail your $50 check c/o Prof. Stencel, Chamberlin Observatory, University of Denver, Denver CO 80208 USA, and include your return mailing address information, specifying this book. Check payable to: University of Denver - Chamberlin Fund. See also the end of this page for more options.


How the spirit of Chamberlin Observatory inspired 1953 live-in math student to develop Apollo spacecraft simulators. A charming memoir by Hal Secrist, student and resident at Chamberlin Observatory. 190 pages, plus several appendices including complete descriptions of the telescope; paperbound. 2011: OUT OF PRINT, but digital copy of an early draft available here: Part 1 & Part 2.


Prof. Albert Recht's mid century astronomy textbook, filled with the wild expectations prevelant at the beginnings of the space-race and Dr. Recht's unique humor. Recht knew Howe and recounts some of the Founder's wit and witticisms in this charming text. $10 postpaid -- see above for address details.  Sample pages here.  Related items: 1938 Obs.Bulletin & 1948 Obs. Bulletin .

NEWS, Jan.2006: The State Historic Fund of Colorado has granted phase 2 funding toward the master rehabilitation plan developed during 1997 for DU's historic Chamberlin Observatory. Watch this space for updates.

June 1, 2001: You are invited to participate in the beginning of a long term effort to provide continuing budget and staff for Denver's historic Chamberlin Observatory. The facility was begun in 1889, and its antique classical refractor telescope saw first light during July 1894. On August 1st 1994, it was placed on the Denver Landmark list, and received $100,000 from the State Historical Society as an emergency repair grant to stabilize the water damaged walls and roof. Much remains to be done.

GOALS: To provide a revenue stream that can support staffing and programs at the University of Denver's historic Chamberlin Observatory, day and night. Examples include staffing and creating daytime programs directed at elementary school children who might not otherwise ever see a real observatory; afternoon continuing ed programs for interested adults and senior citizens; and to enhance the evening DU astronomy classes and Denver Astronomical Society Public Night events. To this end, we seek $1 Million to provide an interest income to support a part time Curator, historian and program supervisor. These funds will also help with program amenities, from internet connections, AV equipment to printed materials for handout and training classes.

BACKGROUND: In 1999, Observatory Director, Prof. Robert Stencel of DU proposed a telescope upgrade and building expansion, in hopes of revitalizing the facility for future decades. This proposal was criticised by members of the astronomy club, neighborhood and university higher administration. Subsequently, in 2000, Dr. Stencel pulled together DU and DAS financial contributions for the addition of digital encoders to the antique telescope that have allowed operators to improve finding efficiency by 3 to 10 times. This makes the antique telescope continue to be viable despite the outrageous levels of light pollution developing over metro Denver. We thank Dave Shouldice for his valiant maintenance of the encoder laptop since 2004. In addition, funds for a new campus telescope have been found that will allow serious students of astronomy to work with modern equipment, independent of Chamberlin Observatory. However, Chamberlin and DU are forever linked.

Hence, we are entering a new time, when Chamberlin operations will need new support for the long term. To help, please contact Prof. Robert Stencel at the University of Denver, 303-871-2135, Thank you.

Members of the Chamberlin Foundation committee:
Dr. Robert Stencel; 
to be asked: H.J.Howe*, Joanne Dittmer, Jack Eastman, Tom Noel, David 
Trott*, David Tondreau 

Tax Deductible Pledge form: Print and mail --

Address: ___________________________________________________

Phone/email: ____________________________________________


For your named co-sponsorship of future editions of the Howe book:


and mail to Dr. Robert Stencel, Chamberlin Observatory, University of 
Denver, Denver, CO 80208 USA.  Thank you.

Donors will be invited to an annual special event star-party at Chamberlin.