The lead article last month reminded me of my first visit to the 100-inch on Mount Wilson last year. I had grown up in sight of the mountain - had a childhood friend who did post-doc work on the 60-inch - but never had gotten a tour. My chance came last summer when attending the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's meeting in Pasadena.
An astro acquaintance was giving an unscheduled second tour! So I was fortunate to go up with a group that included Dr. Osterbrock from Lick (retired). He is a fine astronomy historian - and guess where he did his post-doc!
So - as we were climbing around up to the observing floor (of the 60-inch) he pointed out the small Wooden "observing lockers" of Hubble, Humason, and Sandage. They still had the original names on them and were locked. And it appeared they hadn't been touched for 20-30-40 years.
Under the 100-inch it was a little more cleaned up. But the large concrete support pedestal, two stories high, was really spacy. Its triangles, buttresses, and circular lightening holes (15-foot diameter) seemed much more modern than the "iron bridge and boiler plate" feeling of the telescope structure. What is also unusual, you climb up inside of the pedestal to get to the observing floor.
Take a tour from the Mount Wilson Institute if you can. I also got to see the 100-inch mirror, freshly aluminized, ready to be bolted back on to the tube.
Previous | Contents | Next