60-Inch Telescope: Special Evening Event

Join Atlas Obscura at Mt. Wilson Observatory for an exploration of faraway wonders.

Eyes shall be turning skyward — eyes that are protected by approved solar filter glasses, of course — all to enjoy the Great American Solar Eclipse on the morning of Monday, Aug. 21.

And after the eclipse is over..?

Spoiler alert: The cosmos will still be there long after we've stowed our cardboard glasses and pinhole projectors. Long, long, long after, and if you went and added a limitless number of "longs" to that estimation, you'd be in the right ballpark.

Which is all to say this: The astronomical amazement continues, here in Southern California, after Aug. 21.

One intriguing evening on the near horizon? It's happening at Mt. Wilson Observatory, on the night of Saturday, Oct. 21, and it involves the 60-inch telescope built over a century ago by George Ellery Hale, the observatory's founder. 

It's a special Atlas Obscura gathering, one that will give attendees a chance to experience "...planets, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, and colorful double stars..." with the help of the universe-observing device's astounding 60-inch mirror.

"Collecting ancient light" is one poetical way of considering what this telescope does, if you want to be poetical about it (and surely one does). The cost is $75 to join, and there are some need-to-knows, like carpooling is a must because of the tighter parking situation at the observatory.

There's a meet-up spot in La Cañada Flintridge. Other asterisks and tips? Find 'em here.

Your pinhole projector is surely pretty nifty — you worked hard on making it over the weekend, we're quite sure — and your special eclipse party treats are, no doubt, tasty. (Did you name them "globular clusters"? Because that's a good name for an astronomy-themed dessert.)

But spending time up a mountain with a world-famous telescope is nifty in the extreme, especially if you drive back down having seen something spectacular, like a nebula or planet or star, something that's many light years away.

Our own sun and moon won't be jealous if you decide to get acquainted with some far-off cosmic wonders during your time on Mt. Wilson. The eclipse is all about our nearest satellite and our nearest star, but the universe is gargantuanly, jaw-droppingly big, and many more heavenly bodies await your audience.

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