Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mount Wilson History

Although the author has changed, Sunday's Los Angeles Times includes "L.A. Then and Now," which is always worth reading. Today the topic was Mount Wilson Observatory, from its founding in 1904 by George Ellery Hale (who first observed Earth's magnetic fields while working at Mount Wilson) to present work on helioseismology (sunquakes. Duh.)

In between, of course, were discoveries by Edwin Hubble, Albert Michelson, and others.

The print version of the Times ran a wonderful picture of Albert Einstein visiting the facility in 1931, which unfortunately is not shown with the online article. This photo of the 1904 groundbreaking, with Hale, is from the Mount Wilson Website.

  • Mount Wilson's official, more detailed history is here. You can link to articles about the founding of the place, the 100-inch telescope (which came in 1917), and visitor hours/info

  • The Mount Wilson Observatory Association has nice color pictures and information about tours

  • The US Naval Academy biography of Albert Michelson (who figured out the speed of light at Mount Wilson) includes this incredible signed picture taken at the Observatory library in 1931. Left to right, the posers are M.L. Humason, Edwin Hubble, C.E. St. John, Albert Einstein, W.W. Campbell, and W.S. Adams. Umm, someone on the left is missing but that's all the photo caption says.

  • UCLA maintains a site on the Solar Tower, with information about the research going on there, sunspot activity, etc.

  • Towercam! Picture refreshes every two minutes. This shot is from Sept. 24, 2002

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