Sunday Concerts Under the 100-inch Telescope Dome!

For the first half of the 20th Century, Mount Wilson was the most famous observatory in the world. The biggest telescopes were here, and their new designs were changing the way astronomy was done. Among the many discoveries made on the mountain, a few revolutionized our understanding of our place in the Universe. Here, for the first time, Harlow Shapley measured the size of the Milky Way Galaxy and located our position in it, far from the center. Then Edwin Hubble proved that the mysterious spiral nebulae, which astronomers had speculated about for decades, were in fact distant galaxies similar to our own. Then Hubble teamed up with Milton Humason and discovered that this immense Universe was expanding. Space itself was getting bigger. This finding, when run backwards in time, lead straight to the Big Bang Theory. So this is where modern cosmology began, and thus, in our long search for our origins, Mount Wilson holds a unique place in human history. Today, our original solar and nighttime telescopes, the world’s largest for two generations of astronomers, have been joined by the new CHARA array, which has the highest resolution of any optical or infrared system ever built, achieving unprecedented views of the stars.

Hubble guiding Mount Wilson's 100-inch Telescope in 1924, shortly after he proved the existence of distant galaxies. Photo: Carnegie/ Huntington Library. Photos at the top of the page: 1-Matt Adame, 2-MWO, 3-Steve Padilla. Photos below, left to right: I-MWO, 2-Dave Jurasevich, 3-MWO, 4-NGC 7331 by George Willis Ritchey.

One Hundred Years Ago, July 1st, 1917, the 100-Inch Mirror Arrived atop Mount Wilson! Click here to read more.

 

 

In 1917, a crew drives an early Mack truck up the Mount Wilson Toll Road, with the precious 100-inch mirror crated and standing vertically in the back. Photo: Carnegie/ Huntington Library

Explore Mount Wilson in Person

Explore Mount Wilson in Person

Explore Mount Wilson On-Line

Explore Mount Wilson On-Line

Support Mount Wilson Observatory

Support Mount Wilson Observatory

  • Help keep the Observatory operations going and preserve its famous telescopes for future generations, Donate!
  • Join the people who keep the Observatory programs going, Volunteer.
  • Run the September 16th 5K, a fundraiser to add restrooms, benches, and scenic overlooks to the Observatory.

George Ellery Hale, 1910. Photo: Carnegie/ Huntington Library

The Observatory’s founder, George Ellery Hale, built four telescopes, each one in succession becoming the largest in the world. Here they are shown to the same scale. His first was the 40-inch refractor at Yerkes  (in Wisconsin) on the left, but then he began building the more revolutionary–and more compact–reflector telescopes, using a large mirror instead of a lens. His next two are on Mount Wilson, the 60-inch and the 100-inch. (While not quite as grand as his last, these two had the light gathering power for astronomers to discover our place in the expanding Universe.) His fourth, the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar, is represented on the right by one of Russell Porter’s famous cutaway drawings. This image has been reversed and extended on the left side for a better comparison of the relative sizes of the full domes. Hale’s telescopes were the biggest from 1897, when Yerkes opened, to 1993, when the Keck telescope in Hawaii was completed–a span of 96 years. To see these drawings enlarged, click here. Drawing credits: University of Chicago/Yerkes Observatory, Carnegie Observatories, Palomar Observatory/Caltech.

July and August Telescope Nights for Individuals

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Mount Wilson Observatory
Mount Wilson ObservatoryFriday, July 21st, 2017 at 12:03pm

The Moon through the observatory's telescopes is a beautiful and very bright sight to behold.

Mount Wilson Observatory
Mount Wilson ObservatoryMonday, July 17th, 2017 at 5:30am

As a lead-up to the centennial of the 100" Hooker telescope, we are featuring "Construction of the 100" Dome" as the third installment from the Huntington Library Collection of Historical Photographs archives, assembled and captioned by Ray Blumhorst.

Mount Wilson Observatory
Saturday, July 15th, 2017 at 5:09pm
RT @lizlandau: We know the universe is expanding because Hubble found out w/ the @MtWilsonObs 100-inch telescope -- and it still works! #sp MtWilsonObs photo
Saturday, July 15th, 2017 at 5:09pm
RT @CarnegieAstro: Our outreach superstars today @MtWilsonObs teaching astronomy to awesome students from Hope St Family Center. https://t.… MtWilsonObs photo
Saturday, July 15th, 2017 at 6:49am
@CarnegieAstro scientist explaining our position in the Milky Way to students while also observing Venus. #stem https://t.co/F1HX6rVnm0 MtWilsonObs photo
Friday, June 30th, 2017 at 5:29pm
RT @CarnegieAstro: We're celebrating George E Hale's 149th birthday. Here he his with Ellerman on expedition to the mountain that would bec… MtWilsonObs photo