Description: This last weekend my brother Daniel and I rented time at the Mount Wilson Observatory, reserving the 60-inch telescope for the entire night. We signed up in April, not knowing if the weather would be good or if wildfire smoke might obscure our viewing.
As luck would have it, the weather was awesome and we have had very little smoke in LA this year.
The 60-inch telescope and its larger relative, the 100-inch telescope, both sit some 6000′ above Pasadena, California and were installed in the very early 1900s. Our program coordinator said there were about 60,000 residents in LA at the time, so this was a great place for a telescope.
But as LA grew, so did the light pollution, eventually dooming the telescopes for any serious astronomy.
They did have their time in the sun (pun highly intended) with the 100-inch being used by Edwin Hubble to discover not only that all those little points of light in the night sky are not just stars in our our Milky Way, but also whole entire other galaxies. He also figured out the universe was expanding with the aid of the telescope and some smart brain thinking.
These days the telescopes are not only antiques, they are fun and still functioning antiques! This gives us laypeople the chance to drop a load of cash and see worlds beyond ours.
The telescopes are run by volunteers and we had a fabulous time with the two who helped us find, observe and understand VERY distant objects through the eyepiece of this magnificent machine.
I’ll write up another post soon about the actual evening, but for me the image below is a highlight. While galaxies are hard to see with all the LA light pollution and nebulas are pretty cool, it’s our neighbors that had me transfixed. Heck, tomorrow’s post will likely be Saturn.
But for today, Jupiter with its Great Red Spot (not always visible, since the planet rotates like ours) with a few moons off to the side, is the Photo Of The Day.
Location: Our Solar System, about half way out.
Photograph Copyright Peter West Carey Photography, All Rights Reserved