100″ Telescope Reservations

Viewing through the 100-inch Hooker Telescope -- An Experience of a Lifetime!

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The world's largest telescope from 1917 to 1949, the 100-inch Telescope forever changed our understanding of the scale and nature of our Universe and launched a revolution in astronomy that continues through today. This world-heritage class instrument, used by many of the greatest astronomers of the Twentieth Century, has only recently been made available for regular public viewing. It is the largest telescope in the world that you can rent! Imagine looking through the telescope used by astronomers Edwin Hubble and Milton Humason in the late 1920s to measure the expansion of the Universe. MMMM MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Photo: Norm Vargas.

Your Session Director will contact you a week before your reservation and arrange the details of your visit.

  • Meeting Time & Place: The time chosen or agreed to by the Session Director is typically around Sunset, or earlier if you hav requested a presession tour for an additional fee. Important: Unless other arrangements have been made, your Session Director will meet guests arriving for observing sessions outside the main gate. If you arrive earlier and go to one of the observatory parking lots inside the gate, your Session Director will have no way to find you and escort you in to park near the telescope. For safety and other logistic considerations, planning multiple additional arrival times cannot be accommodated.
  • Parking: We can accommodate up to 10 cars or up to a 30-passenger bus to park at or near the telescope dome. Any greater number of cars or larger size of passenger bus will require special logistics and must be discussed with the Session Director well in advance of the session.
  • National Forest Adventure Pass: Parking passes are not needed for telescope observing sessions, as parking will be within the Observatory, as instructed by your Session Director.
  • Cancellation: Your session confirmation or cancellation the day of the session may be done only by the Session Director. Weather, telescope/observatory operations and/or external reasons are some factors that may require cancelling the session.
  • Pre-session Tours of the Observatory: A private tour can be combined with an observing session for a nominal extra fee. This is a great way to get grounded in the remarkable history of the Observatory and to see the both big telescopes and the solar tower telescope before starting your session. To set up a pre-session tour, please request one when making your telescope observing session reservation.
  • Dome logistics and accommodations Dome lights: Will be turned down to dim red for observing.
  • No Handicapped Access: The dome was opened in 1917 and is not ADA-compliant, offering no access for those who cannot climb stairs. Visiting is not suggested for those with respiratory or heart problems due to the stairs and the 5700-ft elevation.
  • Chairs: Mount Wilson Observatory provides chairs.
  • Refreshments: We provide hot water, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, cups, and stirrers/spoons.
  • Smoking (including “vapors”) & Alcoholic Beverages are not permitted at Mount Wilson Observatory.
  • Restroom: Located inside the dome, between the ground level and observing deck.
  • Photography: Non-flash photography through the eyepiece during the observing session will be permitted, with the approval of the Telescope Operator and Session Director. Special and advance approval from the Session Director is required for cameras or other devices to be mounted to the telescope. Before the session starts, feel free to take photographs of the telescope and Observatory grounds.
  • Clothing: Warm layers like sweater, coat, hat, etc. as the dome is not heated and the temperature in the dome can quickly drop. Sturdy closed-toed shoes/boots.
  • Flashlights: Not essential, but helpful: White flashlight when leaving the dome; red flashlight during the observing time.
  • Refreshments: You may bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to be consumed in the galley area near the observing level.
  • Observing list: While the Telescope Operator has a list of appropriate objects for the 100-inch Telescope, please feel free to bring your own observing list. The Telescope Operator’s decision is final on whether a particular object can be observed at a particular time.
The rates are $2,500 per half night and $4000 per full night for a group of up to 20 people. Pre-session Tours of the Observatory: A private tour can be combined with an observing session for a nominal extra fee (a minimum of $150 which covers up to ten guests; for additional guests we charge an additional $15 per person). This is a great way to get grounded in the remarkable history of the Observatory and to see the both big telescopes and the solar tower telescope before starting your session. To set up a pre-session tour please  request one when making your telescope observing session reservation. We are able to schedule a half night of observing for the first half of the night only. Logistical problems preclude us from scheduling two different groups for the first and second halves of the night. We also do not provide a service for matching different groups to share the same reservation. Occasional individually-ticketed nights are announced during the season from this website and from our Facebook Page.
Scroll through the calendar to see if the date you want has already been booked. Please note, however, that some unbooked dates may not be available if someone else has already asked for the date and it has not yet been finalized and the calendar updated.
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100" Telescope Reservation Request

Step 1: Contact Information

Contact name
Use this format (xxx) xxx-xxxx !
Use this format (xxx) xxx-xxxx !

Step 2: Details

Important: Check the calendar in the previous tab. Select any date you wish to observe that says "Available."
In the event that another party has already requested your first choice and it has not yet been finalized and entered into the calendar, enter an alternative date if possible. Enter "none" if not.
Limited to 20 persons total per visiting group
1 adult required per 5 minors. Children under 12 are permitted (NO EXCEPTIONS). Limited to a total of 20 persons (Adults + any minors).
Ex: Private Vehicles, 4 or Bus, 1. Parking is limited to ten vehicles. Carpooling from the base of the mountain is encouraged. And it saves gas!

Step 3: Terms of Agreement

Mount Wilson Institute (“MWI”) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation that operates Mount Wilson Observatory pursuant to agreements with the Carnegie Institution of Washington (“Carnegie”) and the United State Forest Service.

COVID-19 has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. Evidence has shown that COVID-19 can cause serious and potentially life-threatening illness and even death.

MWI cannot prevent anyone in your group from becoming exposed to, contracting, or spreading COVID-19 while utilizing MWI’s services or premises. Therefore, by choosing to utilize MWI’s services and/or enter onto MWI’s premises you may be exposing your group to and/or increasing the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

The undersigned confirms that no one in the participating group will come to the MWI premises if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including without limitation, fever, cough or shortness of breath, or has a suspected or diagnosed/confirmed case of COVID-19, or has been in direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within two weeks of the event.

ASSUMPTION OF THE RISK: I understand the concerns about COVID-19. On behalf of myself and my group who will be visiting Mount Wilson, I hereby accept the risk of contracting COVID 19 in order to utilize MWI’s services and enter the premises.

WAIVER OF LAWSUIT/LIABILITY: On behalf of myself and my group, I hereby release and waive the right to bring suit against Carnegie or MWI and its owners, officers, directors, managers, officials, trustees, agents, employees, or other representatives in connection with exposure, infection, and/or spread of COVID-19 related to utilizing MWI’s services and premises. I understand that this waiver means I and my group members give up the right to bring any claims for COVID-related injuries or death, including but not limited to claims of negligence and give up any claims to seek damages, whether known or unknown, foreseen or unforeseen.

INDEMNIFICATION: On behalf of myself and my group, I will defend, indemnify, and hold MWI and Carnegie, their trustees, officers, and employees harmless from and against any and all claims, actions, suits, proceedings, costs, expenses, damages, injuries and liabilities in connection with any exposure, infection, and/or spread of COVID-19 related to utilizing MWI’s services and premises.

By Clicking the SUBMIT button below I confirm that I HAVE CAREFULLY READ AND FULLY UNDERSTAND ALL PROVISIONS OF THIS RELEASE, AND FREELY AND KNOWINGLY ASSUME THE RISK AND WAIVE MY RIGHTS AND THE RIGHTS OF MY GROUP MEMBERS CONCERNING COVID-19 LIABILITY.

Sending
For telescope users interested in taking photographs, click here for a PDF file with helpful information on how to take the best images at your 100-inch Telescope viewing session.

For current weather conditions on Mt. Wilson, go to Weather Underground.

The 100-inch Telescope, with the interior dome lights turned on. Another night of observing the Universe is about to begin. Photo credit: Elisa Webster.