In these times of ever increasing costs and budget cuts, the UMD Observatory finds itself in a precarious position. Although used extensively by the introductory astronomy classes, the budget for the UMD Observatory comes out of a nebulous (pun intended!) department fund. Over the years, we've been able to get additional funding from the MD Space Grant Consortium to cover some of our special programs. We have also been fortunate in getting monies through the Student Tech Fees. But we'd like to do more.

There are a number of funds within the University Foundation to which concerned individuals can donate, several are astronomy related and two are connected to the UMD Observatory:

  • Justin DeSha-Overcash Summer Research Award (#21962)
    The Justin DeSha-Overcash Summer Research Award assists an undergraduate student pursuing research opportunities in Astronomy, Physics, or Geology and also demonstrates a service component to the community. This award honors the memory of Justin, one of our undergraduate student staff, by providing an out of state student who is financially needy a stipend to conduct summer research here at Maryland.
  • Astronomy Observatory Gift Fund (#21684)
    This fund is used to repair, upgrade, and purchase new hardware as needed by the UMD Observatory. In 2011, we upgraded the mount for the 7" refractor, bought new cameras for the 14" and 7" telescopes. Future purchases include filters and new eyepieces.

If you would rather not use the online donation system, you may also mail a check.

UMD Observatory Wishlist

in no particular order!

  • lots of dehumidifiers
  • adjustable pier(s) (
  • eyepiece sets for the 7", 14", and 20" (wear and tear during the Open Houses and public events over the past 11 years since we last purchased, well, we need to replenish our sets for the main telescopes)
  • radio dish project (need ~$7K to purchase needed electronics and hardware to get our radio dish working)
  • All-sky camera(s) (~$1100ea)
  • seeing monitor
  • updated/upgraded/refurbished AV equipment
  • Astronomy Park
  • building renovations
    • pull out old unused wiring
    • repair termite damage/wood rot
  • landscaping

Thank you to...

  • the numerous anonymous donors who have been supporting our 'garage sale' of books
  • Herman Heyn -- donation of a large collection of S&T spanning 1972-2009
  • Richard Dunlop -- donation of complete set of Astronomy magazines
  • George Fleming -- donation of a large collection of S&T roughly spanning 1961-1988
  • Harry Newman -- donation of a large collection of Astronomy magazines and a slide printer machine


  • hi-speed internet connection
              (completed Spring 2014 as part of the Campus Refresh project (
  • new parking lights
              (Spring 2013: installed, although minor adjustments still need to be made)
  • new mount for the 7" refractor
              (completed Fall 2011: permanent loan from Dr. A'Hearn; pier modified and mount installed)
  • eyepiece sets, variable polarizers, diagonals for each Ultima scope and for the 7", 14", and 20"
              (Sep 2003: New eyepieces, etc were purchased for the Ultimas, 7", 14" with money collected from our 'garage sale' of books, misc. old equipment destined for the trash bin, and cash donations at our Open Houses and other observing events!!! THANK YOU to everyone who contributed in some way!!)