Highlights from the

Carbonate Chronicle

75 Years Ago

Climax Observatory Plans

New Project

April 1, 1946


A program of new projects, interrupted by the war, is being planned by Harvard and Colorado universities at Climax. A new high altitude observatory for photographing “shooting starts” as an aid to long-range weather forecasting is one of the new projects, according to Dr. Walter O. Roberts of the solar observatory at Climax.

Ground for the new site, three and a half miles from the present Harvard observatory, has been provided by the Climax Molybdenum company.

The new site, say Dr. Roberts, is 11,150 feet above sea level, somewhat lower than the present solar observatory site, but in a sheltered dust-free spot ideal for the purposes involved.

Several buildings are planned for separate types of research. One will house the world’s largest coronagraph. This instrument, already under construction, will be two to three times bigger than the present one at Climax, which played a major role in the war.

There will be a new type of solar telescope with special lenses that transmit ultra-ray as well as visible light; and special meteor cameras to observe “shooting stars” in the “rocket” levels of the earth’s upper atmosphere. Ultimately, a large astronomical telescope of the Schmidt type will be placed there, but that is a project further in the future.

“Shooting stars” are chunks of matter, some no larger than your little fingernail, which fall into the earth’s atmosphere from outer space.

Traveling at more than twenty miles a second, the chunks are heated by air friction and burn up. It is now possible to compute their speed, observe their slowdown rate and record their temperatures photographically. From those facts the density and temperatures of the upper air can be computed and its mass movements charted to give new clues to the behavior of weather-breeding air masses closer to earth. Only thru pure, thin mountain air can the fiery paths of those little “shooting stars” be photographed accurately.

“Taking up the threads of new research where we had to drop them after Pearl Harbor,” says Dr. Roberts, “we want to find out more about the sun. During the war, we found out how to make dependable forecasts of radio conditions by observing the sun’s corona. Such reports are going regularly to the Navy and the C. A. A. for airlines to use.

“Those radio condition reports are being paid for, and so the observatory is paying its own way right now. Find the answer to a pure science problem, and a practical use for it always pops up.”


Photographers Took

Movies of Skiing

April 8, 1946


Picture conditions were perfect at the Cooper Hill ski course Sunday, according to Ray Lees of Pueblo, who with two others made moving pictures of the activities at the popular winter sports area.

Lees’ proposal for putting local winter and summer scenes on film — and Leadville as a sports and vacation Mecca “on the map” — has been accepted by the Lions club and the Chamber of Commerce. The two service organizations are jointly sponsoring the filming project.

A master film, 16 millimeter width and 400 feet in length, will be made, and from it two copies, one for each sponsoring the group. Arrangements for showing the Leadville film to service clubs throughout the state remain to be worked out.

Lees has already made 400 feet of movies on skiing, but will cut the footage to 200 feet, including the best scenes. He plans to use the remainder of the 400-foot film on “local color” and summer topics, particularly trout fishing. The Pueblo photographer will be in Leadville this weekend to arrange picture sequences in various bars and gathering places. Later he will return with elaborate flood lighting equipment for the actual “shooting.”

Cooper Hill Tow

Had Successful Run

April 29, 1946


The Cooper Hill Ski Tow, closed Sunday evening after a successful season of operation by the Lake County Recreation Board, was opened for public use on December 1, 1945. There were 22 inches of snow on the course at the time of starting and 29 inches when the tow was shut down for the season on April 21.

The tow was in operation a total of 44 days. No breakdowns of any type occurred to the tow.

A parking area was provided for 250 cars, and the use of chains was never necessary. The lunch room and warming place was open every day the tow was scheduled to run.

The course was used during the season by 5,741 skiers. Many of those were out-of-state skiers, coming from the following states: Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and two skiers from Chile.

In proportion to the number of people using the course, there were few accidents: nine broken bones, 27 sprains, and 21 minor accidents that were treated at the first aid station. There were no accidents at all on the tow.

It is estimated that at least a thousand people were spectators throughout the season.

In order to make the skiing safer, a Ski Patrol was organized. Each member of the patrol had at least 20 hours of Red Cross first aid instruction. There was also a free ski school for children and one on a pay basis for adults.

The Cooper Hill Ski Tow paid $729.15 in federal taxes.

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