Creighton University Observatory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Creighton University Observatory
Creighton observatory.jpg
Creighton University Observatory c. 1908
Organization Creighton University
Location Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Coordinates 41°15′58″N 95°56′51″W / 41.266098°N 95.9474391°W / 41.266098; -95.9474391Coordinates: 41°15′58″N 95°56′51″W / 41.266098°N 95.9474391°W / 41.266098; -95.9474391
Established May 6, 1886 (1886-05-06)
Creighton University Observatory is located in the US
Creighton University Observatory
Location of Creighton University Observatory

Creighton University Observatory is located on the Creighton University campus in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. It was the first observatory in Omaha, and the second in Nebraska. It was used primarily for the instruction of students, though the directors did do some research in the observatory. It still stands today on the campus grounds, though there is currently no public access.

Quick facts[edit]

  • Construction began: October 6, 1885
  • Benefactor: John A. Creighton
  • Telescope mounted: May 6, 1886
  • First telescope: 1884 J. H. Steward & Co. of London, 5" aperture, 84" focal length
  • First light: August 22, 1886
  • Directors:
    • Father Joseph F. Rigge, S.J. (1883–1894)
    • Father Charles J. Borgmeyer (1894–1895)
    • Father William F. Rigge, S.J. (1895–1927)
    • Father William Doyle, S.J. (1927–1930)


As part of his endowment to found Creighton University, John A. Creighton donated the money for a telescope made by J.H. Steward & Co. of London.

Telescope statistics[edit]

  • Aperture – 5 inches
  • Focal length – 84 inches
  • Mount – equatorial, on a brass column on an oak tripod with three large casters
  • Mounting gear – driving clock, graduated circles, clamps and fine adjustment screws on both axes
  • Eyepieces – 7 total (1 terrestrial, 1 diagonal, 5 astronomical)
  • Initial storage – in the chemistry laboratory, rolled out as needed
  • Cost – £125 (approximately $625 USD)
  • Usage intent – popular and educational use

Observatory built[edit]

Father Joseph F. Rigge, S.J. arrived at Creighton in August 1885. Assuming responsibility for the telescope, he noted that the constant movement of rolling the telescope in and out of its storage space did not allow for accurate usage and was even damaging the telescope. He suggested a small shed with a removable roof. Father Dowling, the university president, was able to secure $1200 from Mr. Creighton for building a proper observatory.

Observatory statistics[edit]

  • Ground broken – October 6, 1885
  • Building completion – December 17, 1885
  • Telescope mounted – May 6, 1886
  • Pier composition – stone
  • Central pier depth – 6 feet
  • Central pier height from floor – 6 feet
  • Circumference of dome room – 15 feet


  • Memoirs of Father William Rigge, S.J.

External links[edit]