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Blog

Fires threaten historic Mount Wilson Observatory

PIA12190.jpg
Image of the Californian wildfires from NASA’s Terra satellite (credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL)

By Michael Banks

The enormous wildfires in California are still threatening the Mount Wilson observatory sat 1742 m high in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, northeast of Los Angeles.

Yesterday, the fires crept nearer and the observatory’s website as well as the live webcam went down.

There was some hope, however, as Reuters reported that cooler weather as well as increased humidity had hampered the fires and firefighters hoped they could drive the fire away from the observatory.

Founded in 1904 by the US astronomer George Ellery Hale, the observatory still performs astronomical research via its 1.5 m Hale telescope and 2.5 m Hooker telescope, which was used by Edwin Hubble to discover that galaxies were moving away from us.

Regular updates on the wildfires are being provided by the Los Angeles Times and Georgia State University, which operates the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy at Mount Wilson.

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