After seemingly endless days of fires and pandemic, beloved Mount Wilson observatory reopens – Daily News

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It has been a long time since astronomers had the chance to visit the historic Mount Wilson Observatory.

First, the Bobcat Fire, which raged for weeks last year, happened just yards from the observatory atop Mount Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains, northeast of Los Angeles.

  • Telescope operator Darrell Dooly and Mt. Wilson Institute board member Camille Lombardo looks at the 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The observatory reopened Tuesday after the pandemic closed. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • The 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • Artist Keni “Arts” Davis presents Superintendent David Cendejas with a watercolor inspired by a photo taken by Cendejas during the Bobcat Fire at Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • The 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The observatory reopened Tuesday after the pandemic closed. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • Telescope operator Darrell Dooly takes a look at the 60-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The observatory reopened on Tuesday after the pandemic closed. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • People at the Mount Wilson Observatory, Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

  • Executive Director Tom Meneghini at Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The observatory reopened Tuesday after the pandemic closed. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

Then came the pandemic and the closures triggered by county public health orders.

Although it is generally open to visitors between April and November each year, the coronavirus outbreak has prevented Mount Wilson from hosting in-person events.

Without income, the observatory drew on its reserves, its donors and its rents from the universities which rented premises at the observatory.

But on Tuesday, June 15, the observatory once again welcomed its fans in limited numbers. The observatory will open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. every day this summer.

The observatory has also resumed limited bookings for night sky observations from telescopes on its website.

Official visits will not return until later this month.

Executive Director Tom Meneghini at Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The observatory reopened Tuesday after the pandemic closed. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

“I’m really delighted that all of our functions are back up and running and that all the volunteers are back here and everything is working,” said Executive Director Tom Meneghini.

Collecting volunteers now is essential to get the facility up and running at full speed.

“We only have three paid positions at the observatory; the rest are all volunteers, ”said Camille Lombardo, board member of the Mount Wilson Institute, previously executive director of Friends Of The Griffith Observatory, before retiring.

Artist Keni “Arts” Davis presents Superintendent David Cendejas with a watercolor inspired by a photo taken by Cendejas during the Bobcat Fire at Mount Wilson Observatory on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)

Visitors gathered in small waves on opening day, as temperatures soared nearly triple digits in Southern California.

A group of residents arrived with a gift – a watercolor painted by local artist Keni “Arts” Davis. The artwork was inspired by a photograph taken by Superintendent David Cendejas during the Bobcat fire.

The painting depicts a group of firefighters making their way through a smoke-filled sky across a bridge leading to the 100-inch telescope. The artists donated the painting to the observatory on behalf of the people of Altadena.

For more information on the reopening, log in here: https://www.mtwilson.edu/



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