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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Photos of the Day: Visiting Mount Wilson Observatory...

A selfie I took with Mount Wilson Observatory's CHARA array interferometer (foreground), the 60-inch telescope and a 150-foot solar telescope (background) on March 24, 2016.

Last Thursday, I drove down to the Mount Wilson Observatory near La CaƱada Flintridge to check out the telescope that astronomer Edwin Hubble used in the late 1920s to discover that the Universe is expanding. While the observatory is only less than 18 miles from where I live, it took more than an hour and a distance of 50-plus miles to reach the summit of Mount Wilson...due to the long winding road through Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. The ride was pretty fun and definitely worth it, seeing as how this is the only working observatory near Los Angeles (Griffith Park Observatory near Hollywood is more of a tourist attraction)...and the closest one after that is the Palomar Observatory (home to the 200-inch Hale Telescope) near San Diego.

My 2015 Honda Civic is visible at the left side of this photo while Mount Wilson Observatory's two 150-foot solar telescopes are visible to the right...on March 24, 2016.

Along with checking out the 100-inch Hooker Telescope (which Hubble used to make his discovery about the Universe's expansion, which he confirmed in 1929), I also took photos of the domes housing the 60-inch telescope, the two 150-foot-tall solar telescope towers and the various domes housing the CHARA (The Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy) array interferometers that began scientific use by Georgia State University in 2002. Also a sight to see is the "antenna farm"...which consists of several giant radio and TV antennas that were constructed as far back as 1947. The largest radio tower on Mount Wilson is the guyed mast that is owned by Richland Towers. It stands at 972 feet-tall.

A photo I took of the 'antenna farm' near Mount Wilson Observatory...on March 24, 2016.

Having visited Griffith Park Observatory (the last time I went there was in 1994), Palomar (traveled there back in '91, I believe) and now Mount Wilson, the next astronomical site I want to check out is the Mauna Kea Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii. Home to the twin Keck Telescopes, this observatory sits on Mauna Kea's summit 13,796 feet above sea level (compared to 5,710 feet for Mount Wilson). Yea, I'd either have to learn how to drive stick shift if I want to travel up Mauna Kea by myself, or take a tour bus to the observatory. I'm leaning towards taking the tour bus. That is all.

LINK: All of the photos that I took at Mount Wilson Observatory

Greater Los Angeles as seen from the summit of Mount Wilson...on March 24, 2016.

Another photo I took of Mount Wilson Observatory's CHARA array interferometer (foreground), the 60-inch telescope and a 150-foot solar telescope (background) on March 24, 2016.

The dome housing Mount Wilson Observatory's 60-inch telescope, with a 150-foot solar telescope visible in the background...on March 24, 2016.

Mini-domes (which are part of the CHARA array? Not sure) at Mount Wilson Observatory...on March 24, 2016.

The dome housing Mount Wilson Observatory's historic 100-inch Hooker Telescope...on March 24, 2016.

A photo I took of the historic 100-inch Hooker Telescope (which Edwin Hubble used to discover that the Universe is expanding)...on March 24, 2016.

A photo I took of one of the 150-foot solar telescopes at Mount Wilson Observatory...on March 24, 2016.

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