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Womble Observatory occupies higher ground

Womble Observatory

The Meyer-Womble Observatory occupies a vantage atop Mount Evans. Photo: Wayne Armstrong


Most of the DU community is familiar with Chamberlin Observatory near campus, but DU astronomy students and faculty get even closer to the stars at the Meyer-Womble Observatory, located on Mount Evans near Idaho Springs. Near the mountain’s peak at 14,148 feet, the observatory offers the second-highest vantage point of any telescope on Earth. And because it stands above 40 percent of the atmosphere’s light-distorting effects, images produced by the observatory sometimes can rival those of the Hubble Space Telescope in clarity and resolution. DU constructed an A-frame building at the summit of Mount Evans in 1935 to support expanding cosmic ray research. In 1972, DU’s first summit telescope replaced the structure, and in 1996, the Meyer-Womble Observatory opened at the location. A gift of $3.8 million from the estate of William Womble (BA ’34) funded construction of the facility and endowed the Womble Professorship in Astronomy. Eric Meyer—an anesthesiologist who designed the telescope—and his wife, Barbara, donated the $1 million telescope and brought the telescope optics from Chicago personally.


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