2021-07-13

Prairie Observatory | Oakland, Illinois

The Prairie Observatory was closed within 12 years, This abandoned building stands near Oakland, Illinois, USA. It was built by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Department of Astronomy. This site was located near Walnut Point State Park and offered a dark sky viewing site that was accessible from anywhere within 35 miles of campus. The telescope was inaugurated in January 1969, and in a very short time, it was closed on April 1, 1981.

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Abandoned Illinois

Abandoned Prairie Observatory


Astro Mechanics Inc. provided the observatory's principal telescope, a 40-inch (1.0m) Cassegrain reflector. The telescope cost $244,000 and was funded mainly by a National Science Foundation grant. The dome measured 40 feet in diameter and was connected to the main building, which housed an apartment for astronomers. Equipped with an off-axis equatorial mount, the telescope was capable of direct photography, spectroscopy, and photoelectric photometry. The observatory's 11-year-old life used a single-channel multicolor photometer for most of its 80 research papers. The university archives now house the photographic glass slides made by the camera and spectrograph.

Abandoned Observatory


A smaller dome contained a 4-inch Ross Fecker camera and a 40-inch telescope. It was originally found in Urbana's observatory. It was used until the telescope was stolen in the 1980s. The plates that were taken with this camera's photographic plates are stored at Yerkes Observatory. Champaign received the 15-foot dome used for this telescope in 1986. It is now being used by the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society.

This 40-inch telescope was transferred to Mount Laguna Observatory at San Diego State University In April 1981. It is still in a working position and in use. Soon the Walnut Point State Park building has been abandoned.

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Abandoned Observatory
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Observatory Oakland
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Prairie Observatory | Oakland, Illinois
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Abandoned Prairie Observatory
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Abandoned Observatory
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Prairie Observatory
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Prairie Observatory Google Map

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Abandoned Illinois
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