History and Historic Sites of the Valley * Then and Now Photos * Lost Crescenta * Rockhaven * Membership
Mount Wilson (named for Benjamin Wilson) and the Mount Wilson Observatory are in our own back yards here in CV, yet few of us realize the groundbreaking discoveries in astronomy that have taken place there. The observatory was established in 1904 by George Ellery Hale. The 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes housed there were the largest telescopes in the world for the first half of the 20th Century, making Mt. Wilson a Mecca for astronomers and cosmologists from around the world. Several innovations in astronomical thinking come from Mount Wilson, including the concepts that the sun is not the center of the Milky Way, that many other galaxies exist outside the Milky Way, that they represent a variety of ages, and that they are all moving away from each other. Although it is today eclipsed by more powerful and technologically advanced observatories, the Mt. Wilson Observatory continues as an important research center for colleges such as UC Berkeley, Georgia State, University of Illinois, UCLA, and USC.
Our Mount Wilson Observatory History tour will include some light walking. Remember the temperature may be 20 degrees lower on Mt. Wilson, so dress accordingly. We have been invited to eat our lunches at the Skyline Park Pavilion on the grounds of the observatory, so bring a picnic lunch and stay and socialize after the tour.
Directions: From the 210 Freeway follow Angeles Crest Highway up the mountain. Turn off on the Mt. Wilson turnoff at Red Box (about 14 miles). Drive up another 5 miles, pass the transmitter towers, and follow the "Observatory" signs through the Forest Service Gate. Park in the large parking lot at Skyline Park and walk 1/4 mile to the Observatory. (The drive takes approx. 45 min. from La Crescenta.)