Astronomy Talks and Telescopes

To mark the centennial of the 100-inch Telescope, Sam Hale, the grandson of Observatory founder George Ellery Hale, spoke about how the telescope ushered in a “second Copernican revolution,” when we learned that our Milky Way Galaxy was not the center of the Universe, but one of billions of other star systems. Later in the week, he introduced our first public astronomy lecture in many years, by Astronomer Alex Filipenko.

University of California, Berkeley astronomer, Alex Filippenko, wove his own personal connection to the telescope into the Observatory’s history. And then gave an amazing overview of Hubble’s discovery of the expanding Universe, and how we came to know that the expansion is accelerating due to dark energy–a discovery to which Filippenko contributed with his research on supernovae. Click here for links to the centennial speakers. This was the “pilot” for our 2018 series of half a dozen astronomy talks followed by a look through one of our big telescopes.

2018 Astronomy Lectures

We have an exciting schedule of six lectures planned for the mountain this year, each one followed by a look through one of our big telescopes! Talks will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. After the talk, food will be available for purchase: hamburgers, veggie burgers, salad, chips, and drinks. You are also welcome to bring your own picnic fare.

Once the sky is dark enough, attendees will get to go into the either the 100-inch or 60-inch dome to look through the telescope. The number of objects visitors will get to see depends on the weather (as always) and the number of attendees. We will keep the telescope open until midnight. So come for a talk, and look through the 100-inch Telescope, which astronomer Edwin Hubble used to discover the expanding Universe, or the 60-inch, which revolutionized telescope making and was used by Harlow Shapley, to measure the size of our Milky Way Galaxy and our position in it.

  • June 16, The Rise of the San Gabriel Mountains, with Dr. Tanya Atwater, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. For more information on this talk, please visit our homepage. After the talk, food will be available from 7:oo to 8:30 pm for purchase (cash only) from a food truck “Los Gringos Locos.” They will be serving tacos, rice and beans with all the fixings. You are also free to bring your own food. Tables will be set up near the 150-foot Solar Telescope.  Admission is only $20, and goes to cover costs and to support the Observatory.
  • June 30, George Ellery Hale: Astronomical Impresario, with best-selling author, Dava Sobel. Proceeded by Sam Hale, Grandson of G.E.H.
  • July 21, Stars on the Ceiling, with Dr. Ed Krupp, Director of Griffith Observatory.
  • September 15, The Search for Life in the Universe, with Dr. Jean-Luc Margot, Professor and Chair of the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences at UCLA.
  • October 20, A Beginner’s Guide to Building Your Own Galaxy, with Dr. Andrew Benson, an astrophysicist with the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena.

To register for upcoming concerts, lectures, Hale’s 150th birthday, the 5K run, and more go here. We will be adding more, and details for a few of the events are yet to be determined, so check back often. To view the events in calendar form, click here:  2018 Mount Wilson Events Calendar

Best-selling author, Dava Sobel, who spoke at the centennial of the 100-inch Telescope, will return June 30 to help us celebrate the life of the Observatory’s founder, George Ellery Hale on the occasion of his 150th birthday.

Mount Wilson Observatory’s auditorium seats 250 people, a great space to learn about the Universe!