Yerkes Observatory

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Yerkes Observatory from air

Yerkes Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin operated by the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. [1][2] The observatory calls itself "the birthplace of modern astrophysics."[3] Astronomer George Ellery Hale founded it in 1897 with financial support from businessman Charles T. Yerkes.[4] John Johnston Jr. donated a 53-acre site on the shore of Lake Geneva for the observatory.

The observatory houses a 40" refracting telescope. This is the largest refracting telescope ever successfully used for astronomy.[5] It has a collection of over 170,000 photographic plates.[6]


  1. Yerkes Observatory-Home
  2. The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago-A Bit of History
  3. Observatory website
  4. Yerkes Observatory - 1892-1893 History of Yerkes Observatory
  5. Elizabeth Howell (August 15, 2014). Yerkes Observatory: Home of Largest Refracting Telescope. Retrieved on April 3, 2017.
  6. Observatory website