BECOME A MEMBER OF THE OBSERVATORY

The Mount Wilson Institute is proud to be responsible for this historic site, its sublime grounds and impressive telescopes — which truly belong to the world. Your membership in the Mount Wilson family will help achieve the Observatory’s maximum scientific, educational, and cultural potential, and will work to re-establish Mount Wilson Observatory as a local, national, and world destination site!

These are the programs your membership will support when you join:

CONTINUING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

The fundamentals of Mount Wilson’s telescopes — the mirrors and lenses, the optics, the mechanics — are still world class. Updating the electronic controls and adding current digital spectroscopy will make these instruments viable and available for scientific research at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels.

Education

We conduct STEM-focused field trips and overnight excursions that teach middle and high school students the revolutionary discoveries made at Mount Wilson Observatory’s with the very instruments that made them possible. We are planning on creating summertime science camps to include local high school students with a strong interest in science.

Infrastructure & Historic Preservation

Beyond our foundational responsibility to maintain the physical plant, instruments, and grounds, and to ensure the Observatory's viability and accessibility for another 100 years, Mount Wilson Institute is launching a fund-raising campaign that will ensure visitors get the most from their visit.

public engagement

Our public and private tours of the Observatory bring the story of Mount Wilson Observatory and its contributions to astronomical history to hundreds of visitors every year. We also hold a series of lectures by noted astronomers and scientists, as well as a series of musical performances in the dome of the 100-inch telescope, featuring some of Southern California’s leading musicians.

Membership levels

ALL MEMBERS RECEIVE:

10% discount on food purchases at the Cosmic Cafe
Early event registration
Recognition in our newsletter, Reflections

The membership levels described below receive these additional benefits:

$100 | HUBBLE

15% discount on SIX Talk & Telescope or Concert Tickets
E-mailed copy of Reflections Newsletter

Edwin Hubble (1889 – 1953) revolutionized our understanding of the true nature of the universe and our place in it.  In 1923, using the 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory and applying Leavitt’s Law to the Cepheid variable star he discovered in the Andromeda Galaxy, Edwin Hubble measured its distance and proved that the mysterious spiral nebulae in the heavens were in fact galaxies similar to our own, ‘island universes’ as they were then called. In 1929, his observations together with those of Milton Humason demonstrated that the Universe was expanding.  We are, therefore, pleased that you honor him with your membership.

$250 | HUMASON

20% discount on SIX Talk & Telescope or Concert Tickets
Hardcopy of Reflections Newsletter

Milton Humason (1891- 1972) left high school to lead mule trains transporting parts and equipment up the trail to Mount Wilson. Eager to learn everything about the telescopes, he became an adept telescope operator assisting Harlow Shapley and was recruited into the staff of astronomers upon Shapley’s recommendation. In the 1920’s, Humason photographed the spectra of ever more distant galaxies and with Edwin Hubble confirmed that the Universe is expanding. Beloved by all who knew him, the work of this gregarious and modest man helped uncover the evidence for the Big Bang. We are, therefore, very pleased that you honor him with your membership.

$500 | LEAVITT

TWO tickets for our FREE Invitation-Only Telescope Night
25% discount on SIX Talk & Telescope or Concert Tickets
Hardcopy of Reflections Newsletter

Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868 – 1921). Henrietta Leavitt was a ‘computer’ (i.e. mathematician) at Harvard Observatory and not part of Mount Wilson Observatory, yet we honor her because she discovered the essential and critical linchpin of cosmological distance measurement, Leavitt’s Law. With concentrated and innovative study of Harvard’s glass plates of the Small Magellanic Cloud, Leavitt discovered that luminosity, aka brightness, was a function of the length of the period of Cepheid variables, and thus founded a way to calculate great distances in the Universe. Without her breakthrough, neither Harlow Shapley nor Edwin Hubble could have made theirs. Her discovery places her in the line of luminaries of cosmology, among Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, Shapley, and Hubble. We are very pleased that you honor her with your membership.

$1,000 | MICHELSON

Exclusive receptions at the famous Monastery following lectures
THREE tickets for our FREE Invitation-Only Telescope Night
50% discount on SIX Talk & Telescope or Concert Tickets
Hardcopy of Reflections Newsletter

Albert Michelson (1852 – 1931) had a lifelong interest in light and its speed. He conducted his first measurement of the speed of light in 1879 while posted at the U.S. Naval Observatory. In 1887, Michelson and Edward Morley carried out the immensely important Michelson-Morley experiment using an interferometer to find the ether that light waves were thought to travel through. Instead, they failed to find any evidence of the ether, setting the stage for Einstein’s theory of special relativity. As a result, Michelson became the first American to win a Nobel Prize in a science. He came to the Observatory in 1919 as a visiting scientist from the University of Chicago to obtain a definitive measurement of the speed of light using timed light flashes from Mount Wilson to Lookout Mountain and back. While working on that, he invented astronomical interferometry and built an instrument to measure the diameter of Betelgeuse in 1920. Today, gravitational waves are detected using a very large (with 4 kilometer arms) Michelson interferometer. Returning often as a visiting scientist, he was an influential and beloved member of the Mount Wilson family. We are pleased that you honor him with your membership.

$2,500 | SHAPLEY

25% discount on Private Telescope Reservations
ONE FREE Private Tour for up to 10 of your family and friends
Exclusive receptions at the famous Monastery following lectures AND Invitations to Special Events and Celebrations
FOUR tickets for our FREE Invitation-Only Telescope Night
75% discount on SIX Talk & Telescope or Concert Tickets
Hardcopy of Reflections Newsletter

Harlow Shapley (1885 – 1972) began his research at Mount Wilson in 1914 and by 1917 had revolutionized the accepted view of the Universe, in effect discovering the Milky Way Galaxy. With the light gathering power of the 60-inch telescope on Mount Wilson trained on Cepheid variable stars, Shapley used Leavitt’s Law to map out the structure and calculate the size of the known universe. He proved that our Solar system was not at the center of the Galaxy, but on the periphery, removing our planet from the center of everything just as Copernicus had done. We are pleased that you honor him with your membership.

$5,000 | Hale

50% discount on Private Telescope Reservations
ONE FREE Private Tour for up to 10 of your family and friends
Exclusive receptions at the famous Monastery following lectures AND Invitations to Special Events and Celebrations
FIVE tickets for our FREE Invitation-Only Telescope Night
EIGHT FREE Tickets for our Talk & Telescope or Concert Tickets
Hardcopy of Reflections Newsletter

George Ellery Hale (1868 – 1938) founded Mount Wilson Observatory in 1904. Under his direction, in a short thirteen years the Observatory grew to include five historic instruments — three solar and two night-sky telescopes — as well as a cutting-edge physics laboratory for the analysis of the elements. All of this led to remarkable discoveries that are foundational to our modern conception of the cosmos. In addition to his astronomical efforts, Hale was also a catalyst in establishing the scientific and cultural grandeur of California, helping found or guide such institutions as Caltech, the Huntington Library, Palomar Observatory, Pasadena Civic Center, Griffith Observatory. We are pleased that you honor him with your membership.

All memberships are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

For higher membership levels, please consider paying by check, which saves us the credit card transaction fee. Send to:
Mount Wilson Institute, P.O. Box 94146, Pasadena, CA  91109

THANK YOU FOR JOINING & FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

The Observatory is managed by the Mount Wilson Institute, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit incorporated in the State of California, FEIN 77-0132297.  Note that your membership donation may also be tax-deductible.  Please consult your tax preparer regarding your personal situation.

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