Telescopes I've Seen - Yerkes Observatory

Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago, Williams Bay, Wisconsin

Yerkes Observatory and Lake Geneva

Right there on the shores of Lake Geneva. The 40-inch refractor was one of several "world's largest telescopes" successively produced by George Ellery Hale, passing through the 60- and 100-inch reflectors on Mt. Wilson and what is now, fittingly, the Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain. The Yerkes telescope remains the largest refractor ever put into astronomical use (this weasel wording comes about because there was once a 1.2-m or 48-inch horizontal telescope displayed in Paris, but no results came from it). The photographs it did early in its career of star clusters have proven especially valuable in deriving proper motions of their constitutent stars, now that a century-long time baseline has elapsed. The main building at Yerkes also houses a 24" (60-cm) reflector (with a rotating tube for polarization measurements) and a 40-inch reflector (called the 41-inch to avoid confusion). It once housed the 24-inch Ritchey reflector used by Hubble in his dissertation studies of nebulae; I last saw that telescope in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Yerkes 40-inch refractor

Telescope Collection

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