Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Thanks To Mt. Palomar.

The Open House was thoroughly enjoyable and ought to be repeated. The event was pretty well planned with interesting lectures by CalTech scientists at the on site museum every half hour. There were tour buses available to take visitors around the compound and food was sold by students and parents from the local school.

Clearly, more visitors than anticipated attended and there were a couple problems as a result. There weren't sufficient bathrooms around the grounds for the number of people who came. Also waits to see the 200 inch Hale telescope got very long. I waited over 3 hours to see the scope and only got in when the organizers decided to just let people in to guide themselves around the scope at the end of the day. For most of the day smaller groups were allowed in at a time and given a more guided tour. The scope is impressive enough as it is and with people stationed around the inside to answer questions, a guided tour would not really be necessary. But the positives far outweighed the negatives and credit is due to the observatory, CalTech, and to the Friends of the Palomar Observatory (website here) for opening the grounds to the public.

Here are some final miscellaneous photographs.

-tdr

Top left photo: Some staff of the observatory live on the grounds. This is a pet cat roaming around the interferometer. Top right photo: This is a small part of the line to get into the Big Eye. The local fire department was on hand with their equipment.








Middle left photo: The San Diego Astronomy Assocation (website here) had some scopes set up to view the sun at the 60 inch scope. Middle right photo: The view from the observatory's 5,000 foot elevation is impressive.








Bottom photo: As the globe warms, some mountains in Southern California remain snowcapped in June.

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Comments:
As a docent for the Observatory I just wanted to point out the one thing that we are educated in as representives of the facility and that is:
Never refer to the 200" in meters
And always remember that it is Palomar Mountain not Mt. Palomar.
Just a little info for the record.
 
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