No great creative work, whether in engineering or in art, in literature or in science, has ever been the work of a [person] devoid of the imaginative faculty.
– George Ellery Hale

Arts @ the Observatory:
Exhibitions and events in the spirit of founder and polymath George Ellery Hale

2022 Fulcrum Festival: Deep Ocean/Deep Space
September 23-25, 2022


The Fulcrum Festival is a regional celebration of art and science across the greater Los Angeles area. This year’s festival features a robust program of exhibitions, performances, lectures, screenings, and workshops—all centered around the theme of “Deep Ocean/Deep Space.”

Mount Wilson Observatory is proud to be one of the venues for this year’s Fulcrum Festival. For the full schedule of the festival, and to purchase tickets for events, see the Fulcrum Festival website: 2022 Fulcrum Festival: Deep Ocean/Deep Space.

Festival Events & Exhibits at or from Mount Wilson Observatory:

Sep 15- 25 |10AM – 5PM
Location: Various locations in Pasadena, CA

Sunstar is an art-science collaboration by Liliane Lijn and astrophysicist John Vallerga. Composed of six prisms to form an array, the artwork takes incoming sunlight and refracts it, bending the light and spreading it into a spectrum, i.e., all the colors of the rainbow. It is mounted near the top of Mount Wilson Observatory’s 150-foot Solar Telescope Tower. With motion controls, the array can be remotely directed to project the spectrum to a specific point in the Los Angeles Basin. 

Sunstar cannot be seen from the site of its installation on Mount Wilson; it can only be seen from the Los Angeles Basin. During the 2022 Fulcrum Festival, Sunstar‘s beam will point in the direction of festival events that are located within the prism’s range of visibility.

Location: Lookout by the 100-inch telescope.
Exhibit Hours:

Sep 15- 25 |10AM – 5PM

Methods for Descrying, Intimate Eyes that Listen considers the space for intimate otherness in data interpretation. Musing between astronomical stereoscopy and intuitive scrying, the sculpture installation brings attention to the way we use our senses as a conduit for understanding information.  Tuning into our environment is a crucial aid for a more-than-human deep listening in research methodologies. The exact location of the installation on Observatory grounds is TBD, please check this page for updates!


CM von Hausswolff: freq_wave (Pacific; Los Angeles)
Location: 100-inch Telescope 
Exhibit Hours:
Sep 23-25 | 11AM – 5PM

Ocean x Space: A Special Evening of Sounds and Stars
Sep 23 | 7PM Observing: 8:30 – 11:30 PM 

freq_wave (Pacific; Los Angeles) is an immersive installation by pioneering new media and conceptual artist, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, who will transform the interior of the 100-inch Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatories with a visual and sound installation. The project brings together twelve individual sound works by twelve artists, each operating within a unique frequency range based on field recordings from the Pacific Ocean and amplified to act as a single, generative sonic zone.

October 15, 2022

Arts @ The Observatory Open House & California Art Club Plein-air Paint/Sculpt-Out

Art enthusiasts will have a wonderful opportunity to watch artists at work, as they create new paintings inspired by the breathtaking views of the San Gabriel Mountains that surround Mount Wilson Observatory. Paint/Sculpt-Outs are held by the CAC at scenic locations – and sometimes intriguing indoor venues – throughout the year, allowing both artists and art lovers to gather for some camaraderie as the artists create new works.

There will be plein-air painting and sculpting throughout the Observatory, plus an exhibition of fine art Mars landscapes in the Observatory Museum.

Past events - 2022 Season

August 13 & 14
Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculptures of Michael Brewster

Within the 100-inch Dome, visitors will physically engage with six of this pioneering sound artist’s pieces as they move throughout the space and also learn about Brewster’s approach to his art which encompassed sound, engineering, and architecture.

Ongoing exhibits


Sunstar is a special art installation created and owned by artist Liliane Lijn and astrophysicist John Vallerga. It is on loan to Mount Wilson Observatory, and can now be seen in a number of locations.

Sunstar is an array of six prisms which take incoming sunlight and refract it, bending the light and spreading it into a spectrum–all the colors of the rainbow. It is mounted near the top of the Observatory’s 150-foot Solar Telescope Tower. With motion controls, it can be remotely directed to project the spectrum to a specific point in the Los Angeles basin. An observer below will see an intense point of light in a single wavelength, shining like a brilliant jewel from the ridgeline of Mount Wilson, 5800 feet above in the San Gabriel Mountains. The prisms can be moved to change the color of light an observer sees, or the observer can walk in one direction or another to change the color. In this case, the observer is actually walking across a giant spectrum some 250 yards long. While still very bright, at the great distances involved, it is perfectly safe to look at a single wavelength of sunlight.