MWO founder George Ellery Hale atop Mt. Wilson, 1904 Huntington Library


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Mount Wilson Observatory is operated by the Mount Wilson Institute under an agreement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The Observatory occupies lands belonging to the USDA Forest Service set aside under a long-term leasehold agreement between CIW and the USDA Forest Service. The Observatory subscribes to the USDA non-discrimination policy as expressed here.

Banner photographs by David Jurasevich

60-inch Telescope Centennial Event

November 12, 2008

UCLA's Towercam peers into the 60-inch slit
Mount Wilson Observatory celebrated the hundredth anniversary of "first light" on the historic 60-inch telescope with a festive gathering of some 130 guests who heard presentations in the afternoon regarding the past, present and future of the Observatory before adjourning for hors d'oeuvres and an early evening look through this landmark telescope. The object selected for viewing was the spectacular globular cluster M15, an appropriate choice considering Harlow Shapley's use of the telescope during the WWI years to study the distances of globulars and redefine the sun's place in the Milky Way.

A few photos from the event are shown below, and the following links give print and video coverage of the centennial celebration in addition to an excellent historical overview as well as a contemporary article by the creator of the telescope, George W. Ritchey.

  • Sky and Telescope magazine carried this news item about the event.

  • The Pasadena Star News has an article and video on its website.

  • KTTV-TV FOX covered it live on its late news.

  • An interview with Hal McAlister was taped for the KNBC "New Conference" will appear at 9:30 am on Sunday, November 23. The interview can be found here.

  • Long-time Mount Wilson supporter and historical expert Mike Simmons wrote this excellent article on the origins of the 60-inch.

  • Read the report published in The Astrophysical Journal in April 1909 by George W. Ritchey, the master optician and brilliant designer of the 60-inch telescope.

  • Sam Hale and Brack Hale, grandsons of George Ellery Hale, in front of the 60-inch at dusk

    Sylvia and Sam Hale show off the telescope's birthday cake

    Mount Wilson Director Hal McAlister accepts a commemorative photograph of Andrew Carnegie and George Ellery Hale presented by Sam Hale on behalf of the Hale descendants.

    Hal McAlister, Carnegie Observatories Director Wendy Freedman, film makers Todd and Robin Mason, and Sam Hale stand beside a poster of the Masons' film now airing nationally on PBS.