Kiwanis Chico Community Observatory

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History


 

    The Chico Community Observatory was built in summer 2001.  To see pictures of the early stages, click here.  On April 9th, 2000, the ground breaking ceremony for the observatory was held at Upper Park.  The observatory was open to the public for the Leonid meteor shower on November 17, 2001.

    Our first telescope, a 10" refracting telescope, was built by former Chico resident and amateur astronomer Jim Schwartz.  Although this telescope is no longer in use at the Observatory, we are immensely grateful to the Schwartz family for donating such a wonderful instrument.  This was the telescope that started us out.  The observatory also had a 14" Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, which we still use.

    The Observatory's current two telescopes are 14" Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes.  These telescopes collect more light than the Schwartz telescope (see aperture in Physics section), enabling us to view fainter objects such as nebulae and galaxies.  The two telescopes have their own "go to" computer system, allowing volunteers to plug in what object they want, and the telescope will then automatically go to that object.

    Our most recent arrival is a solar telescope.  This smaller aperture telescope is mounted onto one of the 14" Celestrons.  This is the telescope we use while safely viewing solar flares and spots every Sunday, from 11 am to 1 pm. 

    The Chico Community Observatory was made possible by generous donations from multiple sources in the community, including the Greater Chico Kiwanians, Slater & Sons Construction, Eagle Security, the Geosciences department from California State University at Chico (especially Dr. James Regas), the Chico Unified School District, North Valley Astronomers, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society, and the Greater Chico Chamber of Commerce. 

    In order to maintain and further what we do at the Observatory, we are in constant need of funding.  The Observatory accepts donations from the public.  The Messier Object plaques on the wall at the Observatory can be sponsored for a donation of $500 dollars or more.  Your name or company name will then be featured under the plaque as our thanks to you.   

 

Our Sun

Our Moon

Solar System

Deep Sky Objects

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Website last updated March 16,  2006.  Hosted by Anthony Watts, KMXI Radio.  Webmasters Tiara Norris and Brendan Diamond.