About the Link Observatory

History of the Observatory
The Goethe Link Observatory, located on a high bluff about 3 miles south of Mooresville, Indiana on US 67 Indiana.
The large 36" telescope was completed 1939 as the private observatory of Dr. Goethe Link, a noted Indianapolis surgeon and amateur astronomer. The primary mirror was a Corning Glassworks honeycomb test pouring for the famous Mt. Palomar Observatory 200-inch telescope. The original optical configuration was Newtonian. The observatory complex includes a kitchen, a library, and a 50-seat auditorium. 

The Goethe Link Observatory was donated to Indiana University in 1948 and was used regularly for astronomical research until the mid-1980's, by which time the night sky brightness from the Indianapolis suburbs had substantially restricted the breadth of research possible from the site. In 1964 the Newtonian optics were converted to an f/10 Cassegrain system. To avoid perforating the honeycomb primary mirror the focus is diverted to any one of three Nasmyth foci by a folding flat above the primary mirror. This has the advantage of allowing several instruments to remain simultaneously mounted on the telescope. Instruments used there during the 1950-80's include a photographic camera, photoelectric photometer, scanning spectrometer, and slit spectrograph. Topics studied include galactic clusters, cool star spectrophotometry, and spectroscopy of interacting binary stars.

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Notable Achievements in Scientific Research
The observatory complex was used during the 1950-60's to recover asteroids whose orbits had been "lost" during the interruption of regular astronomical observations that occurred worldwide during World War II. These observations also led to the discovery of many new minor planets, and over a hundred new Link asteroids have been named as a result.

The observatory is now operated jointly by Indiana University, The Link Observatory and Space Science Center, Inc and the Indiana Astronomical Society, an amateur astronomy group based in central Indiana to which Dr. Link belonged. 

Additional historical information on the Goethe Link Observatory can be found in an article by Victor Maier which appeared in the May 1940 issue of Popular Astronomy magazine, an article by Frank Edmondson which appeared in the December 1948 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, and an article by Kent Honeycutt which appeared in the December 1978 issue of Sky and Telescope.

The Observatory Today
Today, the observatory hosts a variety of events focused on Education and Public Outreach and is used jointly by the Link Observatory and Space Science Center, Inc and the Indiana Astronomical Society.

Link Observatory and Space Science Center  |  8403 Observatory Road  |  Martinsville, IN  |  A NASA Museum Alliance Member

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