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Meyer–Womble Observatory

Coordinates: 39°35′13″N 105°38′27″W / 39.5870°N 105.6409°W / 39.5870; -105.6409
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Meyer–Womble Observatory
East end of the Meyer–Womble Observatory near the summit of Mt. Evans
Meyer–Womble Observatory on Mt. Blue Sky
OrganizationUniversity of Denver
Observatory code707
LocationMount Blue Sky, Colorado
Coordinates39°35′13″N 105°38′27″W / 39.5870°N 105.6409°W / 39.5870; -105.6409
Altitude4,326 meters (14,193 ft)
Established1995 (1995)
WebsiteMt. Evans Meyer–Womble Observatory
Meyer Binocular Telescope0.7 m reflector (×2)
Meyer–Womble Observatory is located in the United States
Meyer–Womble Observatory
Location of Meyer–Womble Observatory

Meyer–Womble Observatory (MWO) is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the University of Denver. It is located near the summit of Mount Blue Sky in the Arapaho National Forest approximately 60 kilometers (37 mi) west of Denver, Colorado (USA). At an elevation of 4,326 meters (14,193 ft), it is the third-highest optical/infrared observatory in the world, and was the highest until the Indian Astronomical Observatory opened in 2001.[1]

Through a gift of $3.8 million from the estate of William Womble, construction of the facility began in 1995 and was completed in 1996. Eric Meyer, M.D., an anesthesiologist who designed the dual-aperture 0.72 m (28 in) f/21 Ritchey-Chretien telescope, and his wife, Barbara, donated $1 million and brought the optical components personally from Chicago.[2] The optical/infrared telescopes saw first light in August 1997.[3]

During the 2011–12 winter, the dome over the telescope was damaged by high winds, allowing snow to enter the observing area. The telescope was secured in early April 2012 by a mountaineer who hiked to the summit.[4] A complete inspection of the damage did not take place until the road to the summit opened in May. During the following summer, the remains of the old dome were demolished and a new dome was fabricated. Installation of the new structure occurred on October 20, 2012.



Citing a lack of funds and interest, the University of Denver began decommissioning the observatory in 2018. The facility will be razed and the site will be abandoned.[5]

See also



  1. ^ "The Mt.Evans Meyer–Womble Observatory, University of Denver Astronomy". Denver University, Department of Physics and Astronomy. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  2. ^ "Meyer–Womble Observatory | Natural Sciences & Mathematics | University of Denver | University of Denver". University of Denver. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  3. ^ Stencel, Robert E. (June 1999). "First Light at the New Mt. Evans Observatory". The Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. 27 (1): 61–64. Bibcode:1999JAVSO..27...61S.
  4. ^ Keller, Sarah Jane (April 23, 2012). "Jet Stream Damages Country's Highest Astronomical Observatory". Wired.com. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  5. ^ "Repair Blog Mount Evans Womble Observatory". Denver University, Department of Physics and Astronomy. Retrieved 2018-07-24.