University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory closing after 100 years

WILLIAMS BAY, Wis. -- After more than 100 years of operation, the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, is closing.

Owned by the University of Chicago, the observatory is slated to cease operations Oct. 1

“Unfortunately, operating Yerkes no longer makes sense for the university from a programmatic or cost standpoint," said David Fithian, U of C's executive vice president, in a statement. "Drawing to a close our operations there is the first step in a collaborative process to determine the ultimate disposition of the buildings and property. We currently have no specific plans nor have we approached any potential buyers.”

Established by U of C in 1897, Yerkes has been home to groundbreaking work by scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Edwin Hubble and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

The university's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics was located there from the time it opened until relocating to the Hyde Park campus in the 1960s.

Now, U of C's observational astronomy research has shifted to using facilities located all over the globe and in space.