Have you ever longed to be able to look up into the night sky and see more than obscure points of light blurred by the yard-lights of your next-door neighbor? The Chamberlin Observatory in Denver is the perfect place to do it. Each month, on the Saturday closest to an astronomical event, the observatory hosts an open house. During these open houses anyone can come to look through the 121-year-old telescope, and the many other small telescopes set up on the lawn of the observatory.
The telescope was first used in 1894, and is 95% original. The observatory building itself was built 1888 and is named named for its patron, Humphrey B. Chamberlin. When one ascends the wooden staircase into the growing darkness of the observatory, the first thing you notice is the nearly 19ft tall telescope looming in the middle of the room. As your eyes adjust you take in the dimly glowing signs around the room, displaying information on various parts of our night sky. Then comes the climb up the short ladder to the eyepiece of the telescope. We’ve all seen pictures of planets like Saturn, but it is amazing to put your eye to a telescope and know that what you see is high above you in the sky, in real time, so far away that it appears as only a bright dot to the naked eye.
To any amateur astronomers interested in learning more, or anyone simply looking for a good way to spend their Saturday night, the Chamberlin Observatory is a wonderful opportunity not far from home. For more information on the history of the observatory and upcoming events, visit http://www.denverastrosociety.org/openhouses.html.