Swasey Observatory

In 1909, Denison University Trustee Ambrose Swasey contributed the funding to build an observatory, which he also furnished with its original astronomical equipment. At that time, his firm, the Warner & Swasey Company of Cleveland, had manufactured many of the world’s finest and largest telescopes. Built of white Vermont marble, the interior was renovated and the outer dome replaced circa 1970.

Today the observatory still houses the historical 9-inch refracting telescope; modern 8-inch and 10-inch reflecting telescopes are also regularly used for astronomical observations. Swasey Observatory continues to be used as a student educational facility and for public outreach. Open houses are hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy during the academic year.


The Marilyn P. McConnell Planetarium is a 45-seat facility hosting an all-digital, state-of-the-art dual projection system with advanced imaging software, displayed on an 8-meter (26-foot) diameter dome. The recently renovated planetarium provides an immersive experience, transporting audiences across the cosmos. The new upgrades to the facility also expand the academic uses beyond astronomy by offering captivating experiences and data in a variety of other subjects. The planetarium is frequently used as teaching resource in our astronomy classes. Additionally, faculty regularly present live planetarium shows to students, alumni, and the community.