Mount Wilson Observatory

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Mount Wilson Observatory,

astronomical observatoryobservatory,
scientific facility especially equipped to detect and record naturally occurring scientific phenomena. Although geological and meteorological observatories exist, the term is generally applied to astronomical observatories.
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 located in California on Mt. Wilson, near Pasadena. Mt. Wilson Observatory was founded in 1904 by George E. HaleHale, George Ellery,
1868–1938, American astronomer, b. Chicago, grad. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1890. He founded and directed three great observatories (Yerkes, Mt.
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. Its equipment includes 100-in. (2.5-m) and 60-in. (1.50-m) reflecting telescopestelescope,
traditionally, a system of lenses, mirrors, or both, used to gather light from a distant object and form an image of it. Traditional optical telescopes, which are the subject of this article, also are used to magnify objects on earth and in astronomy; other types of
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 and two solar-tower telescopes 150 ft. (46 m) and 60 ft. (18 m) in length. The most recent addition is the CHARA (Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy) array operated by Georgia State Univ.; it consists of six 39-in. (1-m) aperture telescopes arranged in a Y-shape and contained in a 1,300-ft (400-m) diameter circle. When it becomes operational in 2000, the signals from the six telescopes will be combined and analyzed by a computer using optical interferometry techniques, producing the equivalent of the light-gathering power of a single telescope with a 1,300-ft (400-m) aperture. Principal research programs that have been conducted at the observatory include studies of the structure and dimensions of the universe and the physical nature, chemical composition, and evolution of celestial bodies. An ongoing program on the 60-in. telescope is a long-term study of singly ionized calcium lines to monitor sunspot cycles on nearby solar-type stars. The CHARA array will measure details of the surfaces of stars like the sun; the movements of double stars orbiting around each other and of planets orbiting distant stars; and planet formation around stars. The observatory, along with the Palomar Observatory (see under Palomar MountainPalomar Mountain
, peak, 6,126 ft (1,867 m) high, S Calif., NE of San Diego, in Cleveland National Forest. It is the site of the Palomar Observatory, operated by the California Institute of Technology.
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), was formerly part of the Hale Observatories, which were jointly administered by the California Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Institution. In 1986 the Carnegie Institution transferred the observatory's management to the newly formed Mount Wilson Institute.
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Mount Wilson Observatory

An observatory located on Mount Wilson near Pasadena, California, at an altitude of 1740 meters; the seeing is often better than 1 arcsecond. It was founded in 1904 by George Ellery Hale. Until 1985 it was operated by the Carnegie Institution, and is now managed by the Mount Wilson Institute. The first major instrument was a 60-inch (1.5-meter) reflector, completed in 1908, which was followed by a 100-inch (2.5-meter) reflector. The 100-inch, named the Hooker telescope after its benefactor, began operation in 1917 as the world's largest telescope. Its great success led Hale to consider an even larger telescope, eventually sited at Palomar Observatory. The Hooker underwent renovation from 1985 to 1993. Mount Wilson is also the site of two solar telescopes and the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy, which operates the six optical telescopes of the CHARA interferometric array.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mount Wilson Observatory


a scientific institution of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (USA). Located in California, 13 km north of Pasadena, it was founded in 1904 for the purpose of studying the sun. The work conducted at the observatory has played an outstanding role in the study of the sun, the stars, and the Milky Way Galaxy and other stellar systems.

The following instruments were first designed and used at the observatory for solar research: the tower telescope, the spectrohelioscope, the spectroheliograph, and the magnetograph. Among the observatory’s instruments are a horizontal telescope, two tower telescopes with focal lengths of 14.4 and 45.8 m and with spectroscopic equipment, a 257-cm reflector for spectroscopic and photometric work, a 152-cm reflector, and a 25-cm refractor. The principal areas of research are the sun and the physics of stars, nebulae, and extragalactic objects. In 1949, Mount Wilson Observatory was administratively merged with Palomar Observatory.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Guests wore celestial colors and ate only black--caviar, baked bananas, licorice--before watching the comet from the Mount Wilson Observatory at dawn.
In Santa Cruz, firefighters worked to contain a blaze that threatened the Mount Wilson Observatory and nearby homes.
Harlow Shapley became an astronomer at Mount Wilson Observatory; studied Cepheid variable pulsations.
Celestron also participated in the rare “Transit of Venus” celestial event in June with Astronomers Without Borders on Mount Wilson Observatory. You can watch the archived webcast here.
Not until 1953, however, did astronomer Horace Babcock, working at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, propose adaptive optics as a way to reduce in real time the blurring that the atmosphere caused.
Fire crews set backfires and sprayed fire retardant at Mount Wilson, home to at least 20 television transmission towers, radio and mobile phone antennas, and the century-old Mount Wilson Observatory.
Fire officials said a major goal was to keep the fire from spreading up Mount Wilson, where many of the region's broadcast and communications antennas and the historic Mount Wilson Observatory are located.
According to a report in New Scientist, Dave Jurasevich of the Mount Wilson Observatory in California spotted the "Cygnus Bubble" while recording images of the region on 6 July 2008.
Despite numerous efforts at Mount Wilson Observatory to identify more absorption lines, the general assumption had been that the density of interstellar gas was very low.
As usual, the DDP brought some outstanding authorities to address this crucial issue: Willie Soon, Ph.D., physicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory, chief science researcher at the Center for Science and Public Policy and author of The Maunder Minimum; George Taylor, state climatologist for Oregon and past president of the American Association of State Climatologists; and a cameo appearance on the subject by one of the world's most respected authorities--Dr.
We had been lucky enough to see the big mirror moved back into its cradle at the Mount Wilson Observatory the year before.
The location of the Mount Wilson observatory was also instrumental in the creation of the California Institute of Technology as a premier research university in a remarkably short time, with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Millikan as president and with Hale as an important advisor and recruiter of talent.