University of Washington Observatory


The Theodore Jacobsen ObservatoryAn article in The Daily of the University of Washington
discusses the Theodore Jacobsen Observatory at the University of Washington. The observatory is home to a modest 6-inch but historic telescope built in the late 1890s by Joseph Taylor. The telescope is an f/15 refractor with a 90-inch focal length. A picture of the telescope can be found here.

The observatory and telescopes fell into disuse sometime in the 1970s, but in the late 1990s was restored, and is currently in excellent condition. The telescope uses a weight-driven centrifugally regulated clock drive. The weight is cranked up at the start of observing, and then slowly drops down inside the pier during the session, moving the clockwork right-ascension drive, which keeps the telescope in alignment with the earth’s rotation.

The Observatory also houses a 3-inch Bamberg elbow transit telescope originally purchased by U.W. in the 1920s. According to the article, nobody is really sure how to operate the transit telescope. According to Peter Abrahams a chronograph associated with the transit telescope is apparently not in working condition.

Efforts to restore the observatory and telescopes were begun 11 years ago by undergraduates, who also began an open house program. 2007 Open House Dates are: 5/2, 5/16, 6/6, 6/20, 7/18, 8/1, 8/15, 9/5, 9/19, 10/3, 10/17, 11/7

For more information, see the article above, or the Observatory website.

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