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.
Location. 39° 22.048′ N, 106° 11.32′ W. Marker is in Climax, Colorado, in Lake County. Touch for map. Marker is located on the west side of Colorado
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Climax! (a few steps from this marker); Fremont Pass (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Kokomo Masonic Lodge (approx. 1.6 miles away); 10th Mountain Division Memorial (approx. 6˝ miles away); Office of Stratigic Services (O.S.S.) NORSO (Rype Group) Special Force (approx. 6˝ miles away); Norwegian Memorial (approx. 6˝ miles away); Construction of Camp Hale (approx. 8.6 miles away); Matchless Mine (approx. 8.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Climax.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers within Climax Historical Marker 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 (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 the coronagraph (1930), an instrument which allows the observation of the solar corona when the Sun is not in eclipse. (Submitted on September 4, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Additional keywords. astronomy
Categories. • Air & Space • Communications • Science & Medicine • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 119 times since then and 47 times this year. 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.