In 1924 Edwin Hubble made observations that would lead to one of the most important astronomy discoveries of the 20th century. Using the 100-inch (2.54-metre) Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California, Hubble observed variable stars in the Andromeda Nebula. By measuring their distance from Earth, he was able to confirm that the nebula was in fact a galaxy - the first to be identified beyond the Milky Way. Later work carried out at Mount Wilson would lead to another groundbreaking discovery – the expansion of the Universe. Heavily updated, the observatory remains operational today.
Photo: The Mount Wilson Observatory 100-inch telescope taken by Dave Jurasevich (used with permission)
Key discoveries have been made here.
The great astronomer worked at Mount Wilson Observatory.
This clip was filmed at a time when the Hubble Space Telescope had been discovered to have a flawed mirror, hence the reference to "failure". The Hubble Space Telescope went on to become one of the most successful NASA missions. This clip looks at some of the American astronomer Edwin Hubble's most important contributions to astronomy and the equipment he used at the Mount Wilson Observatory. The age of the Universe is now thought to be 13.7 billion years.
Patrick Moore's guest reviews the world's large observatories.
Sir Patrick Moore's guest Professor Richard Ellis from the University of Oxford reviews the world's large observatories and explains their importance. [The black and white images of Edwin Hubble, George Hale, Mount Wilson, the 200-inch telescope and mirror making in this clip are copyright Palomar Observatories/Caltech]
Edwin Hubble discovers galaxies outside the Milky Way.
Edwin Hubble discovers galaxies outside the Milky Way and measures how far away they are.
The Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) is an astronomical observatory in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The MWO is located on Mount Wilson, a 5,715-foot (1,742 m) peak in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, northeast of Los Angeles. The observatory contains two historically important telescopes: the 60-inch (1.5 m) Hale telescope built in 1908 and the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker telescope, which was the largest telescope in the world from its completion in 1917 until the Hale telescope was built in 1948.
Due to the inversion layer that traps smog over Los Angeles, Mount Wilson has naturally steadier air than any other location in North America, making it ideal for astronomy and in particular for interferometry. The increasing light pollution due to the growth of greater Los Angeles has limited the ability of the observatory to engage in deep space astronomy, but it remains a productive center, with many new and old instruments in use for astronomical research.
The observatory was conceived and founded by George Ellery Hale, who had built the 40-inch (1.0 m) telescope at the Yerkes Observatory. The Mount Wilson Solar Observatory was first funded by the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1904, leasing the land from the owners of the Mount Wilson Hotel in 1904. Among the conditions of the lease was that it allow public access.
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