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Built in 1887, the Goodsell Observatory is a 19th century astronomical laboratory located on the western border of the Carleton College campus. The building was given to Carleton by James J. Hill, president of the Great Northern Railroad, and is one of the few surviving buildings of its kind in the country. It was originally built to house a German-built meridian circle, a specially-designed telescope for measuring the time of the meridian passage, and was the source of daily time signals sent to may railroads and cities across the United States. The building currently houses a 16.2-inch Brashear Refracting Telescope and an 8.25-inch Clark Refracting Telescope. In 1891 the observatory was named for Charles M. Goodsell, a founder of the college.
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