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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mt. Wilson Observatory (long overdue)

I’m having one of those days where I go back and check out all of the things I said I’d do “later.” Amongst those to-do items were some panoramas I’ve taken in the past year or so that I’ve been meaning to post on the blog. The first set, here, is from our PictureBubbles visits to the Mount Wilson Observatory here in California.

Inside the 100-ft. Telescope’s dome. The desk looks almost Jules-Verne-steampunk, no?

Getting these shots required riding to the top of a 150-foot tower in a bucket-built-for-two. I’m a bit acrophobic, so the compulsory harness didn’t really give me much of a feeling of security. Still, this has to be one of the most amazing views of Los Angeles one can possibly get.

Standing in the same spot, but the dome was moved 180° to face north.

This is the office underneath the Solar Telescope, where data is collected and stored. The team there still use computer systems from the 1970s (very HAL 9000)—not for budget reasons, but because changing their equipment would sacrifice the consistency of their decades-long observations.

Another part of the CHARA array. Believe it or not, much of this room is a gigantic optical bench.

Also inside the CHARA array.

The CHARA array consists of these metal sleds which are able to slide back and forth to compensate for the different distances over which light must travel from the several telescopes on Mt. Wilson.

The “Monastery” is where astronomers camp out during the winter months when Mt. Wilson is less than accessible.

The views from the Monastery are fantastic.

posted by Josh Korwin at 12:56 pm  

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