Manastash Ridge Observatory

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Manastash Ridge Observatory
Manastash Ridge Observatory
Manastash Ridge Observatory
OrganizationUniversity of Washington
Observatory code664 Edit this on Wikidata
Locationnear Ellensburg, Washington
Coordinates46°57′04″N 120°43′28″W / 46.9511°N 120.7245°W / 46.9511; -120.7245Coordinates: 46°57′04″N 120°43′28″W / 46.9511°N 120.7245°W / 46.9511; -120.7245
Altitude1,198 meters (3,930 ft)
Established1972 (1972)
WebsiteManastash Ridge Observatory
Boller and Chivens Telescope0.75 m Cassegrain
Manastash Ridge Observatory is located in the US
Manastash Ridge Observatory
Location of Manastash Ridge Observatory

The Manastash Ridge Observatory (MRO) is an astronomical observatory built in 1972 by the University of Washington.[1] It is located in a remote area approximately 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) west of Ellensburg, Washington, and can be reached by dirt roads from Ellensburg or Selah.[2] The observatory features a 0.75 m (30 in) Ritchey-Chrétien telescope built by Boller and Chivens. Initially used for professional and graduate research, the observatory is now used mostly by undergraduate students for instruction and research.[3] For a brief time there was talk of stopping funding for MRO as the University of Washington Astronomy Department focus on the Apache Point Observatory, but funding did continue and MRO is still in use.[4]

The Manastash Ridge Radar (MRR) is located in the MRO building. MRR is a bistatic, passive radar controlled by the University of Washington's Radar Remote Sensing Laboratory (RRSL) led by Dr. John Sahr. MRR uses commercial FM radio broadcasts from Seattle to sense ionospheric turbulence, meteors, and airplanes. The receivers are located at the University of Washington and at MRO.[5]

In 2015 MRO was granted $59,999 from the University of Washington’s Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) in an effort to have the observatory run in a more eco-friendly manner.[6] According to the project’s Letter of Intent, the main goals were to reduce water and energy consumption.[7] To conserve water they have installed a rainwater harvesting system that can hold 10,000 gallons of water in its tank and can fully supply the MRO’s water usage.[8] To conserve energy they have installed two solar panels which will produce more than the necessary 20,000 kWh per year needed to sustain the observatory.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MRO History and Basic Data". University of Washington Astronomy Department. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  2. ^ "Directions to MRO and Visitor Information". University of Washington Astronomy Department. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  3. ^ Lutz, Julie H.; Laws, C.; Ramien, N. (2012). "University of Washington's Manastash Ridge Observatory: 40 Years of Astronomy Research and Education". American Astronomical Society. 219: 150.03. Bibcode:2012AAS...21915003L.
  4. ^ The Associated Press (October 4, 1998). "Observatory At Ellensburg To Be Shut Down By UW". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  5. ^ "University of Washington Radar Remote Sensing". University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  6. ^ "UW Grants for Sustainability". Campus Sustainability Fund. University of Washington. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Conservation and Sustainability at Manastash Ridge Observatory: Planning For the Next Forty Years, Letter of Intent". University of Washington. University of Washington. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Conservation and Sustainability at Manastash Ridge Observatory: Planning For the Next Forty Years". University of Washington Campus Sustainability Fund. Retrieved 15 April 2018.

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