After seemingly endless days of fires and pandemic, beloved Mount Wilson observatory reopens – Daily News
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.
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.
âI’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,â said Executive Director Tom Meneghini.
Collecting volunteers now is essential to get the facility up and running at full speed.
âWe only have three paid positions at the observatory; the rest are all volunteers, âsaid Camille Lombardo, board member of the Mount Wilson Institute, previously executive director of Friends Of The Griffith Observatory, before retiring.
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/