LocationFuertes is located on a hill on the North Campus of Cornell University, near Helen Newman. (Fuertes is listed on the campus map).
HistoryFuertes Observatory used to be used by Civil Engineering, as a field office for instruction. Stars are important for navigation and for surveying, and so they used the observatory. The observatory building was built around 1920. It replaced the one that was at the location of Barton Hall at the time, as to move farther out from the lights of campus. Now, the telescope itself was built around 1921 by Warner & Swasey. Before the Fuertes Observatory was in built on North Campus, there was an observatory where Barton Hall is currently located. And even before that, there was a wooden observatory near Goldwin Smith Hall. Fuertes Observatory is named after Estevan Fuertes.
TelescopesThe main telescope at Fuertes is a 12" refractor, with a mechanical tracking mechanism that is operated by weights, like a grandfather's clock. Fuertes also has a number of smaller field telescopes which Astronomy lab classes use.
UseFuertes is no longer used for professional research. Instead, a few introductory astronomy classes hold lab sessions there. There are also public viewing nights on clear Fridays, from 9pm to midnight. Call 255-3557 to find out if Fuertes is currently open. Public viewing nights are run by the Cornell Astronomical Society.