Harvard College Observatory, astronomical observatory located in Cambridge, Mass., operated by Harvard (Harvard College at the time of the observatory's founding in 1839). Its equipment includes a 61-in. (155-cm) reflecting telescope and 15-in. (38-cm) and 12-in. (30-cm) refracting telescopes. Programs of the Harvard Observatory include various aspects of solar physics, stellar and nebular spectroscopy and photometry, and theoretical cosmology. Among the noted directors of the observatory have been W. C. Bond, G. P. Bond, E. C. Pickering, and Harlow Shapley. In 1973 the research programs of the Harvard College Observatory were merged with those of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to form the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; the observatory itself, however, maintains its separate status under the control of Harvard.
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