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Chamberlin Observatory
Chamberlin Observatory
Chamberlin Observatory, circa 1900.
Organization University of Denver
Location 2930 E. Warren Ave., Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Coordinates
39°40′34″N 104°57′11″W / 39.67611°N 104.95306°W / 39.67611; -104.95306
Altitude 1651 meters (5417 feet)
Weather See the Clear Sky Chart
Established 1890
Telescopes
Alvan Clark-George N. Saegmuller 20-inch aperture, f/15 refractor
Chamberlin Observatory
Chamberlin Observatory is located in Colorado
Chamberlin Observatory
Location in Colorado
Chamberlin Observatory is located in the United States
Chamberlin Observatory
Location in the United States
Location 2930 E. Warren Ave., Denver, Colorado
Built 1891
Architect Robert S. Roeschlaub
Architectural style Romanesque, Richardsonian Romanesque
NRHP reference No. 80000887
Added to NRHP March 27, 1980

Chamberlin Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the University of Denver. It is located in Denver, Colorado (US) in Observatory Park. It is named for Humphrey B. Chamberlin, a Denver real estate magnate who pledged $50,000 in 1888 to build and equip the facility.

The observatory building was designed by Robert S. Roeschlaub, with the astronomical aspects and functions designed by Professor Herbert Alonzo Howe after he visited many observatories in the east. It was modeled after the Goodsell Observatory at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and constructed from rusticated red sandstone blocks. The Romanesque structure includes a central rotunda and domed roof. Construction began in 1890.

The 20-inch objective lens for the observatory's main refracting telescope was made by Alvan Clark & Sons, and the mount was built by George Nicholas Saegmuller. The mount rests on a cast iron pillar which is in turn supported by a massive stone pier. Assembly of the telescope was supervised by Professor Herbert Alonzo Howe. The telescope saw first light in 1894.

As of 2018, the Denver Astronomical Society hosts several public outreach events at the observatory every month. As it is located in a large metropolitan area, the observatory is heavily affected by light pollution, which limits its use in scientific research.

In the late 19th century, building great refractors was popular, despite their small apertures compared to reflectors. Several failed reflector projects, and the US Naval Observatory's discovery of the Moons of Mars in 1877 using a 26-inch refractor, contributed to this trend. In just ten years the shift towards big reflectors occurred such as with the 60-inch Hale of 1908.

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