Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Yerkes Observatory is an astronomy observatory of the University of Chicago, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. It was created in 1897 by George Ellery Hale and financed by Charles T. Yerkes. The observatory represented a shift in the thinking of observatories, from mere housing for a telescope and observer, to the modern concept of observation equipment integrated with laboratory space for physics and chemistry. A 40-inch/102 cm refracting telescope is located inside; it was the largest telescope until the construction of Mount Wilson's reflector. It remains the largest refracting telescope ever built.
In addition to the Yerkes refractor, the observatory also has a 102 cm (40 inch) and a 61 cm (24 inch) reflecting telescope. Several smaller telescopes are used for educational outreach purposes.
Current research includes the interstellar medium, globular cluster formation, infrared astronomy, and near-Earth objects. Additionally, the University of Chicago maintains a sizable engineering center in the observatory, dedicated to making and maintaining scientific instruments.
The current director is Dr. Kyle M. Cudworth . In March, 2005, the University of Chicago announced plans to sell the observatory and its land. Initial reports had two purchaser interested, an east coast developer who wants to build luxury homes and Aurora University , which has a campus straddling the Williams Bay property.
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