Climax in Lake County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
During World War II, the Fremont Station of the Harvard College Observatory on Ceresco Ridge was strictly off-limits to mine employees. No one knew what went on there. But Mine Superintendent Jack Abrahms regularly left his office so Observatory Director Walt Robert could use the phone in private. Whatever was going on, it was important.
The observatory housed a piece of equipment called a Lyot-type coronagraph, a specialized telescope used to observe solar flares.
Roberts and his staff used the coronagraph to record flare activity, which interferes with radio communications. They coded the data, and phoned it to the Western Union office in Leadville, from where it was wired to Washington. Military planners used the information to schedule every major operation of World War II.
The University of Colorado became involved with the operation of the observatory after the war. It was moved to the slopes of Chalk Mountain (directly above you) to escape the town’s lights. Data collected here in the 1960’s was used by NASA to help schedule manned space flights.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Communications • Science & Medicine • War, World II.
Location. 39° 22.048′ N, 106° 11.32′ W. Marker is in Climax, Colorado, in Lake County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 91 11 miles south of Interstate 70, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located on the west side of Colorado Highway 91, at the summit of Fremont Pass, directly across from the Climax Molybdenum Mine, within a small park containing historical markers and mining exhibits. The marker is mounted on a large boulder, beside other markers. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Climax CO 80429, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Skiing on Top of the World (here, next to this marker); More Than Just a Mine (here, next to this marker); The Big Shot (a few steps from this marker); The Highest Compost Pile in the World (a few steps from this marker); Water Treatment Protects Downstream Users (a few steps from this marker); Highway in the Sky (a few steps from this marker); Life on the High Line (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to Climax! (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Climax.
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted on a large boulder.
Related markers. list of markers that are related to this marker. Climax Historical Park
Also see . . .
1. High Altitude Observatory.
Walt Roberts built the 5 inch coronagraph with the assistance of Hobart P. French and his Harvard Ph.D. advisor Donald Howard Menzel. This, only the third coronagraph in the world and the first in the western hemisphere, was made possible by Don Menzel's entrepreneurial skills and Walt's technical capabilities. Walt and his wife began their six-year residency at "The Fremont Pass Station of the Harvard College Observatory" on August 15, 1940. It was here that Walter Orr Roberts discovered the link between solar flares and radio interference. (Submitted on September 4, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Walter Orr Roberts.
Walter married Janet Smock in June 1940. A month later the newlyweds headed west to Climax, Colo., to set up the first solar coronagraph in the Western Hemisphere. A coronagraph is a telescope with a circular disc that covers the Sun, allowing the viewer to study its gaseous outer halo, called the corona. With it he discovered that strong coronal flares were followed by radio fadeouts several days later. His observations and daily reports on solar activity were important to military communications during World War II. (Submitted on September 4, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Bernard Lyot French astronomer.
Bernard Lyot, (2/27/1897-4/21952), French astronomer who invented (Submitted on September 4, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Additional keywords. astronomy
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2018. It was originally submitted on September 4, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 229 times since then and 39 times this year. Last updated on September 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 4, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 5. submitted on September 5, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.