Our Telescope

BMOT Telescope


Built in 1970 the Blue Mountain Observatory houses a 16" Boller and Chivens f/18 Cassegrain telescope on a permanent, equatorial mount inside an Ash Dome. Electrical power is supplied by a generator housed in a separate building.

thomas margrave
Image credit: Montana Kaimin.


The observatory was founded by the very first professor of astronomy at UM, Thomas Margrave, through a grant from the National Science Foundation. For more details on the history and founding of the observatory, see this UM Kaimin archival article (PDF), titled "The Eye on Blue Mountain" in the Montana Kaimin, July 8, 1976.


In 2019, the telescope was dedicated as the Diane and Dave Friend Telescope at Blue Mountain, complete with an affixed plaque that is visible to attendees at all events. Through the determined efforts of UM Physics and Astronomy Dept. faculty Dave and Diane Friend over the past 30 years, BMO has become a fixture of Missoula summers. The observatory would not still be here without their dedication to regular maintenance, training student staff and volunteers, and staying up late at night through many summer nights to share the wonders of the night sky with the public.

telescope light