Arts @ The Observatory

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

Daytime exhibitions and events in the spirit of founder and polymath George Ellery Hale

Spring/summer 2022 Schedule

May 7 – September 4
NASA/Hubble Traveling Exhibit

This immersive exhibit provides visitors a chance to explore the accomplishments of the Hubble Space Telescope with a replica of the Telescope, interactive holograms, and hands-on displays.

Come see images and data taken by Hubble of planets, galaxies, regions around black holes, and many other fascinating cosmic entities!

Perfect for visitors of any age, this exhibit will be open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, from May 7 through September 4, 2022, in the Mount Wilson Museum/Auditorium building.

Mock-up of Hubble Traveling Exhibit Credits: NASA

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

“Within Sound: The Acoustic Sculptures of Michael Brewster” immerses visitors in the sonic environments of the pioneering sound artist and introduces his concept of the “Acoustic Sculpture,” a term he coined in 1970. This retrospective includes six of Brewster’s representative pieces that capture his artistic evolution over 4 decades. Arranged sequentially, the exhibition demonstrates the evolving acoustic complexities Brewster constructed as he developed his works from a single sound wave to multi-soundwaves installations. Visitors will physically engage with these works as they move throughout the 100-inch Dome and also learn about Brewster’s pragmatic approach to his art that encompassed sound, engineering, and architecture.

Each performance is a site-specific installation that has been tuned to the 100-inch Dome’s dimensions. Once activated, Brewster’s art and the Dome become one and invite us to discover our place within them, just as the telescope encourages us to discover our place in the expansive cosmos. To quote Brewster “To see an Acoustic Sculpture, we must shift from the “stand and look” behavior of a passive spectator to the exploratory “move and listen” approach of an active participant; slowly walking our ears, instead of moving our eyes, through the environment. Attendance will be limited to allow for movement among the sound waves.

More Information About the Artist

September 23-25
Pasadena Fulcrum Art+Science Festival Sound Art Installation.

Michael von Hausswolff conducts 12 musicians using the frequencies of the ocean.

October 15
Arts @ The Observatory Open House

Plein-air painting and sculpting throughout the Observatory, in conjunction with California Art Club, a Pasadena institution since 1909. Exhibition of fine art Mars landscapes in the Museum.

 

Cosmic Sounds: Observing experiences at the conjunction of astronomy and sound art

August 12, 13
Michael Brewster sound sculpture and 100-inch telescope observing.

September 23
CM von Hausswolff music and 100-inch telescope observing.

Sunstar

Ongoing

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. For more information, see our Sunstar page.