Self-Guided Tour

What does the Saab Owners Convention have to do with astronomy, you ask?

It’s here at the lofty elevation of 14,125 feet; you’ll find the world’s highest, permanently installed Saab sunroofs (the peak of Mt. Evans stands a smidge higher at 14,268 ft). Only these sunroofs are used for cooling the “dome” of the Meyer-Womble Observatory and it’s 28 ½ inch refractor telescope. The chief building contractor proposed the sunroofs when the design called for contoured ventilation doors intended to control image distortion. This epiphany occurred, naturally, when the contractor observed a corresponding radius in the roof of his very own classic 900! Jerry Danner and the crew at Mile Hi Body Shop happily donated the roofs of six decommissioned Saab 900s for the noble cause.

Excursion Planning

A paved state highway leads to the site, but drivers should be reasonably comfortable with narrow mountain roads and high altitude (persons with breathing difficulties should seek medical direction). From Copper Mountain, allow approximately four hours round trip. The area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway and requires a nominal toll. The summit is accessible most of the summer; however, this is one of the rare occasions when the University of Denver opens the observatory to the public.

Midday traffic can be congested on weekends and weather conditions can change rapidly. Regardless of the weather at Copper Mountain, come prepared for any of the following: intense sunlight, cold temperatures, snow, rain, and extreme wind. To combat high altitude conditions, remember to drink plenty of extra water!

Copyright © 2008 Rocky Mountain Saab Club of Colorado