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Yerkes Observatory

Since 2004, rumours have circulated of the sale of historic Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The Aurora University and Mirbeau Companies have emerged as the two contenders to buy the historic property. Today, the University of Chicago announced its intent to sell part of the observatory's property to Private developer Mirbeau Cos.

The developer has agreed to pay the university $8 million and a share of room and property taxes for rights to build a 100-room spa and 72 luxury homes.

Thirty of the 79 acres along Lake Geneva in Wisconsin that surround the observatory housing will remain undeveloped.

Dedicated in 1897, Yerkes Observatory's 102 cm telescope is the world's largest refractor. The observatory also houses a 61cm reflector.

While scientific advances and light pollution reduced the observatory's usefulness in recent decades, many influential astronomers, including Edwin Hubble and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, conducted research at Yerkes.