Science: Do-lt-Yourself Observatory

Vegetables becoming too expensive? Plant a garden. Mortgage loans unavailable? Put together your own log cabin in the woods. No job openings despite your Ph.D. in astronomy? Get together with other unemployed astronomers and build yourselves an observatory. Implausible as that last exercise in self-reliance may sound, just such a project is in the works a mile high in California's coastal mountains. There, a band of six young astronomers, all graduates of Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, are building what they avidly hope will become a major independent observatory.

The group was driven to its decision by some hard numbers. During...

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