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Mount Wilson Observatory Set To Open On June 15

Published on Thursday, June 10, 2021 | 1:35 pm

Mount Wilson Observatory will re-open to the public on Tuesday, according to a statement released on Thursday.

The observatory closed in early 2020 in accordance with the U.S. Forest Service’s observance of COVID-19 and pandemic safety guidelines.  

In September, the Bobcat Fire came so close to the historic structure that officials with the observatory feared the worst. 

On Sept. 14, workers at the observatory posted a letter on its website which said the Bobcat Fire was “rapidly” heading toward the observatory and could reach it that day.

“As of Sunday night, it has crossed the river at the bottom of the canyon, passed Chantry Flats, and is headed rapidly upslope towards Mount Wilson. The fire will probably be upon us today.”

The fire came within 500 feet of the observatory, forcing firefighters to start backfires to absorb the fuel the fire would need to get closer to the observatory.

Mount Wilson will open at 10 a.m. every day the remainder of the summer and close at sunset.  Parking will be available, and visitors can hike the grounds, gaze at the telescope domes that dot the landscape, and browse through the Historic Museum in the Lecture Hall.

The Observatory has also created an expansive multi-platform campaign to celebrate its history, “Discovering Mount Wilson.” Starting on Tuesday, Mount Wilson “Chapters” – brief stories about the Mountain’s history – will pop up on the Mount Wilson website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, donor newsletters and other platforms to showcase a rich legacy of astronomy narrative in the 20th century.  

The Chapters will utilize archival images captured by the telescopes and pictures of the physical evolution of the mountain facility itself, which hosts two historically important telescopes: the 100-inch Hooker telescope, (featuring the world’s largest aperture from 1917 to 1949), and the 60-inch telescope (world’s largest operational telescope from 1908 to 1917).

Founded by George Ellery Hale in 1904, Mount Wilson Observatory has played host to a who’s who of important figures in 20th century astronomy, including Edwin Hubble, Albert Einstein, Harlow Shapley, Milton Humason and many others.  The Chapters will lead readers to a better understanding of why Mount Wilson is “Where We Discovered Our Place in the Universe.”

Mount Wilson Observatory is also accepting a limited number of reservations for night sky viewing on the 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes. These can be booked for evenings throughout the summer. Information about fees, available viewing dates, and reservation forms for private observation can be found at:

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