DAS Activities

DAS Public Nights

Public Nights
Tuesday and Thursday at
DU's Historic Chamberlin Observatory
Current start time is 8:30 pm.

Costs to the public are:
$4.00 adults, $3.00 children

To book, please click:

Public Night Reservations



President’s Message, February 2019

Getting Involved

by Ron Hranac

Denver Astronomical Society is a volunteer-based organization that has been serving Colorado’s Front Range for nearly 70 years. Indeed, we wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the countless people who have made and continue to make DAS what it is today.

A couple questions that come up from time to time are “How can I become more active in DAS?” and “How can I volunteer?” Since we get asked this by non-members too, one important note is that you must first be a member of DAS to volunteer (membership is required for our liability insurance coverage). OK, let’s say you’re a member (if not, you can JOIN HERE) and want to become more active in the Society. What opportunities are available?

One option is a leadership role. Nominations for the election of Executive Board (“E-Board”) trustees and officers opened last month. This year’s election is scheduled for our annual membership meeting on Friday, February 15th at DU’s Olin Hall (click here for details). If you’re interested in throwing your hat in the ring, drop a note to this year’s Election Chair, Tim Pimentel. He can be reached at nominations@denverastro.org.

We’re always on the lookout for additional team members to help with our Public Nights and Open Houses; we’re also looking for new operators of the 20-inch Clark refractor telescope in DU’s historic Chamberlin Observatory. Becoming a ’scope operator requires that you complete training and certification. For more information about becoming a PN team member and/or ’scope operator, get in touch with our Public Night Team Coordinator, Hugh Davidson, at volunteer@denverastro.org.

Speaking of Open Houses, we encourage members to bring and set up telescopes on the park lawn south of the observatory building. There you can share your favorite through-the-eyepiece views with members of the public, and answer questions about what’s being seen in your ’scope. (Sometimes you may get asked other questions, like “What’s the best ’scope to buy?” Our Open Houses provide great opportunities for people to kick the tires—OK, not literally—and try several different types, makes, and models of telescopes. Feel free to share the pros and cons of your own ’scope, and suggest that folks take advantage of the other ’scopes set up on the lawn to get an idea about what might work best for their needs. Don’t be surprised if someone who just got a ’scope like yours asks for advice on how to set it up and use it!)

In addition to the public outreach we do at Chamberlin, Denver Astronomical Society has a busy external outreach program. Our website says it best: “The DAS provides telescope operators, lecturers, and experienced sky guides for astronomical activities at schools, businesses, nature centers, and conferences.” We’re always in need of volunteers—please email July Candia at external@denverastro.org if you can lend a hand.

The Van Nattan-Hansen Scholarship Committee oversees our scholarship program, and could use a couple more members. If this is something that might be right up your alley, let VNH Committee Chair Naomi Pequette know at vnh@denverastro.org.

A fun and educational part of our monthly General Membership Meetings is the Astronomy Minute, during which a member provides a brief introductory overview of just about any astronomy-themed topic. A few examples from past Astronomy Minutes include explaining why the Moon has phases; a look at the three main types of telescopes; understanding angular sizes in the sky; quantum gravity; and visual magnitude. If you have a topic you’d like to present in an upcoming Astronomy Minute, send your idea(s), and the date you’d like to speak, to president@denverastro.org.

Has it been a while since you attended one of our monthly membership meetings? Catch up on DAS business, announcements, the aforementioned Astronomy Minute, and observing reports (and share yours!); then enjoy a presentation by our top-notch guest speakers. Afterwards, join fellow members and guests as we adjourn to Chamberlin Observatory for a little socializing, coffee, juice, and snacks.

There will be other opportunities, such as helping out with Chamberlin’s 125th anniversary celebration in July. We’re also putting together a Finance Committee. Details about these and other activities will be forthcoming, so watch for announcements here in the newsletter, in our Member Portal forums, and in e-mails sent to the membership.

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