Looking Up – Bob Eklund

Adventures of a Mount Wilson Telescope Operator –

A Research Technician for Mount Wilson Observatory’s CHARA Array, PJ Sallave-Goldfinger gives an informative talk on the adventurous undertaking of running this coordinated array of six telescopes. This free lecture will be held on Saturday, April 23, at 2:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Altadena Public Library. It is being presented as a public service by the Mount Wilson Observatory, and all are welcome.

Ms. Salave-Goldfinger, who describes herself as “an amateur astronomer at heart,” has worked at Mount Wilson Observatory for over 10 years, operating both the 100-inch telescope and the CHARA Array. She presents a unique and enjoyable discussion about this mountain observatory and her interesting experiences there.

The CHARA Array is an optical astronomical interferometer operated at Mount Wilson by The Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) of the Georgia State University. It is formed from six 1-meter (40-inch) telescopes arranged along three axes with a maximum separation length of 330 meters. The light beams travel through vacuum tubes and are combined optically, requiring a building 100 meters long with movable mirrors to keep the light in phase as the earth rotates. CHARA began scientific operation of the array in 2002.

The Altadena Public Library is at 600 E. Mariposa Street in Altadena, two stop signs west of Lake Avenue at the corner of Mariposa and Santa Rosa Avenue (“Christmas Tree Lane”).

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Mount Wilson Observatory Now Open to the Public

As of the beginning of this month, the Mount Wilson Observatory/Skyline Park area is open for public access daily between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

The “Cosmic Café,” is also open (serving sandwiches) on weekends, and guided public walking tours of the Observatory are being given each Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Tours begin at the pavilion in front of the Café (overlooking the large parking lot).

The Angeles Crest Highway has not yet re-opened from La Canada (pending completion of repairs), so you’ll need to use the alternate route to Mt. Wilson, via Big Tujunga Canyon from Sunland. For directions and a map, see the Observatory website, www.mtwilson.edu. Allow about 1.5 hours from the Sunland Blvd. freeway offramp to the Observatory. Total distance, offramp to Observatory gate = 26.3 miles.

Enter the Observatory gate marked Skyline Park, and park in the lot below the Pavilion. To reach the Observatory, walk in on the access road (far left side of parking lot) about 1/4 mile to the Observatory area. The Museum is opposite the 150-foot solar tower.

NOTE: The U. S. Forest Service requires those parking within the Angeles National Forest to display a Forest Adventure Pass. A National Parks Senior Pass or Golden Age Passport is also acceptable. The Forest Adventure Pass can be obtained at the USFS Clear Creek Ranger Station or at Sports Chalet outlets.

For more information about the April 23 lecture, contact Bob Eklund, Mount Wilson Observatory lecture coordinator, at (310) 216-5947, or beklund@sprynet.com. For information about Mount Wilson Observatory, go to: www.mtwilson.edu.

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