The Jeuns

Exploring the historic observatory that revolutionized astrophysics

March 26, 2024 | by The Jeuns

Yerkes Observatory, often hailed as the birthplace of modern astrophysics, underwent a transformation in recent years that has brought it back to life. Previously cloaked in plastic sheeting, the iconic telescope at Yerkes is now open for public tours after a million renovation funded by a nonprofit organization.

The historic observatory, once frequented by renowned astrophysicists like Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan, is now preparing for the 2024 total solar eclipse. With Williams Bay expecting 90.2 percent totality, visitors to Yerkes will have the opportunity to witness a rare celestial event in a setting steeped in astronomical history.

Beyond its celestial significance, Yerkes Observatory is also a marvel to behold. Adorned with intricate Victorian-era stone carvings, Romanesque arches, and terra-cotta figures, the building itself is a work of art. Originally conceived by George Ellery Hale and Charles Tyson Yerkes, the observatory stands as a testament to the intersection of scientific innovation and architectural beauty.


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