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High Altitude Observatory (HAO) Records

Identifier: 04-02-HAO

Scope and Contents

The High Altitude Observatory (HAO) is a lab within the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) that conducts fundamental and applied research in solar-terrestrial physics using observational, theoretical, and numerical methods. Research at HAO extends from the solar core to the surface of the Earth. It is the mission of HAO to understand the behavior of the Sun and its impact on the Earth, to support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the university community and the broader scientific community, nationally and internationally, and to foster the transfer of knowledge and technology. The Records of the High Altitude Observatory detail the history of the division from its inception to the present. Records include a range of materials from original observational data from the Climax Observatory and instrumentation schematics to high-level planning documents and correspondence. Selection from this collection are available in the NCAR Library's digital repository, OpenSky.


  • 1940-2001
  • Majority of material found in 1942-1980
  • Other: Date acquired: 19860000


Conditions Governing Access

Most of the materials in this collection are open for access. Six boxes in the Administration Series covering confidential meetings and subjects are restricted until 2025.

Conditions Governing Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


50.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The original order of the collection and the original folder titles have been maintained as much as possible. Materials were grouped together into series by the Archivist. In the detailed description below, these titles have been transcribed as accurately as possible. Records are arranged by material type and then chronologically by the original printed date.  The collection is housed in 50 record cartons and organized into the following 8 series: Series 1: Administration, 1955-1999, undated Series 2: Climax Observatory, 1940-1974, undated Series 3: Instrumentation, 1950-1955, undated Series 4: Mauna Loa Solar Observatory, 1955-1977, undated Series 5: Research, 1952-2001, undated Series 6: Photographs, 1940-2001, undated Series 7: Films Series 8: General History, 1947-1996, undated

Physical Access Requirements

The collection must be viewed in the Archives during normal business hours.

Source of Acquisition

High Altitude Observatory

Method of Acquisition

This is a legacy collection; original box labels indicate the records came to the Archives over several years from different sources, including individual staff members, scientific sections, administrative groups, and the HAO Director. Some materials came to the Archives in 2010-2011 as part of a project to clean up materials stored at an off-site storage facility.

Appraisal Information

Routine correspondence, meeting notices, personnel records, travel records, purchase orders, duplicate publications, reprints, and employment offers were weeded from the collection. The Robert MacQueen Papers were separated from the divisional records to be processed as a separate and distinct collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in the fall of 2011. The Archivist created broadly-defined Series to aid access to the materials, but maintained the original order of individual files and folders. Preservation measures included buffering acidic and/or sticky sheets, removing some metal fasteners, flattening oversize documents, and re-housing the collection in acid-free folders and boxes. Photographs and films in the collection were rehoused in appropriate enclosures. Routine business records such as travel vouchers, check requests, employment applications, and vendor materials were discarded. Human Resource records such as salary adjustments and performance evaluations were destroyed. The Robert MacQueen Papers were separated from the divisional records to be processed as a separate and distinct collection.

High Altitude Observatory (HAO) Records
Kathleen Legg and Krista Stracka
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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Repository Details

Part of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Archives Repository