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Monday, October 12, 2015

Mount Wilson Observatory Under the Lens at Altadena Historical Society Program

The 100-inch telescope dome at Mount Wilson Observatory as photographed in October 1950. Photo courtesy Carnegie Astronomy

Christopher Purcell Presents Free Program Monday Oct. 26

The history of the world-famous Mount Wilson Observatory will be given at 7:30 p.m. Monday Oct. 26 at the Altadena Historical Society by retired aerospace engineer Christopher Purcell, from the Mount Wilson Institute.

The program will be at the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Drive, and is free and open to the public.

Founded by astronomer George Ellery Hale in 1904 with funding by the Carnegie Institution, the celestial observatory is located on top of 5,710-foot-high Mount Wilson, above Altadena in the San Gabriel Mountains.

It was at the Mount Wilson Observatory that famous astronomer Edwin Hubble was able to prove that the universe extends beyond the Milky Way Galaxy, and to the subsequent view that the universe is actually expanding.

Chris Purcell spent nearly 40 years in the aerospace industry, much of it related to spacecraft launch, trajectory analysis, and orbital control. He has a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from UCLA and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from USC.

He is a docent with the Mount Wilson Observatory, the non-profit organization that runs the observatory. His talk will be accompanied by slides, and be followed by a question-and-answer session.

The Historical Society, with offices in the Community Center, is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and can be reached at (626) 797-8018.


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