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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Dave Mitsky
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My Visit to the Palomar Observatory
      #5555014 - 12/05/12 02:50 AM Attachment (37 downloads)

My wife and drove from Los Angeles to the Palomar Observatory on October 9th to see the world famous 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope. The switchbacks were fairly bad during part of the drive up the mountain but no worse than on the trip to Mt. Wilson on October 5th.

Visiting another of the world's great observatories fulfilled my personal wish list for our trip to California. At one point, I met two of the astronomers doing research with the 200-inch that week at the back of the huge dome but I fear they had to contend with clouds from a persistent Pacific low-pressure system that night.

http://climate101withjason.blogspot.com/2012/10/october-2012-cut-off-low-fina...

It was quite an experience seeing the telescope that did so much to expand mankind’s knowledge of the cosmos.

http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/hale.html

The Palomar Observatory is located near Palomar Mountain in the northern part of San Diego County.

http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/images/socal.jpg

http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/images/nosdc.jpg

A video about the observatory can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3ogtybbO9w and a guided tour video of the 200-inch is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAsjgKeWCxw

Time-lapse videos of the 2010 Perseids shot at the observatory and the re-aluminizing of the 200-inch mirror in 2005 are posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HanyOBs60Yc&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZojJ2GBFWE&feature=fvwrel respectively.

Histories of the Palomar Observatory can be found at http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/history.html and http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/98fall/palomar.htm

The following are some of the photos that I took during our visit.

Dave Mitsky

Palomar Mountain, California


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555016 - 12/05/12 02:51 AM Attachment (37 downloads)

Approaching the observatory parking lot

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555019 - 12/05/12 02:54 AM Attachment (34 downloads)

Elevation 5550 feet

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555023 - 12/05/12 02:56 AM Attachment (40 downloads)

The early bird catches the worm

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555025 - 12/05/12 02:56 AM Attachment (35 downloads)

Walk, don't bike

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555027 - 12/05/12 02:58 AM Attachment (37 downloads)

Visitors must be gone by 4:45 p.m.

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555028 - 12/05/12 02:59 AM Attachment (34 downloads)

On to the museum and the gift shop

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555029 - 12/05/12 03:01 AM Attachment (36 downloads)

Corning Pyrex

http://www.cmog.org/article/hale-reflecting-telescope-palomar#.UL-3t4M0XTo

http://www.corning.com/lifesciences/us_canada/en/technical_resources/product_...


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555030 - 12/05/12 03:03 AM Attachment (30 downloads)

The museum

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555031 - 12/05/12 03:04 AM Attachment (39 downloads)

A cutaway model of the 200-inch Hale Telescope

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555033 - 12/05/12 03:06 AM Attachment (28 downloads)

The model was constructed by none other than Stellafane's Russell Porter

http://stellafane.org/history/early/brieft-history.html


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555036 - 12/05/12 03:08 AM Attachment (38 downloads)

Picking up some souvenirs at the gift shop

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555040 - 12/05/12 03:16 AM Attachment (38 downloads)

On to the mighty 200-inch!

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555041 - 12/05/12 03:19 AM Attachment (35 downloads)

A close-up of the 135-foot-tall dome

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555042 - 12/05/12 03:21 AM Attachment (32 downloads)

My wife and I met Peter Bishop, a fellow from Australia who was touring the United States

http://peterbsblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/palomar-to-west-coast/


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555044 - 12/05/12 03:30 AM Attachment (30 downloads)

The happy couple - thanks Peter

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555048 - 12/05/12 03:36 AM Attachment (35 downloads)

Beware of snakes!

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555049 - 12/05/12 03:37 AM Attachment (31 downloads)

Nearing the dome

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555050 - 12/05/12 03:37 AM Attachment (33 downloads)

Climbing the stairs

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555052 - 12/05/12 03:39 AM Attachment (34 downloads)

A walking stick has the same plans

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555054 - 12/05/12 03:43 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

And now a word from our sponsors

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555055 - 12/05/12 03:46 AM Attachment (25 downloads)

George Ellery Hale

http://www.phys-astro.sonoma.edu/brucemedalists/hale/index.html



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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555056 - 12/05/12 03:47 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

Hale died ten years before the observatory was completed

http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/resources/explorations/groundup/lesson/bios/hale/


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555062 - 12/05/12 03:54 AM Attachment (25 downloads)

On the way up to the visitors gallery

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555064 - 12/05/12 03:55 AM Attachment (32 downloads)

The 200-inch Hale at last!

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555066 - 12/05/12 03:57 AM Attachment (23 downloads)

The wheels that move the 1000-ton dome

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555067 - 12/05/12 03:59 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

STS-67 and Palomar

http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-67/mission-sts-67.html


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555070 - 12/05/12 04:04 AM Attachment (25 downloads)

Scale model of the 200-inch borrosilicate primary mirror

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555073 - 12/05/12 04:07 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

Diagram of the 200-inch

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555078 - 12/05/12 04:08 AM Attachment (23 downloads)

One of the electrically-heated suits worn by astronomers in the good old days

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555081 - 12/05/12 04:11 AM Attachment (28 downloads)

The prime focus cage was chilly!

http://www.nndb.com/people/081/000167577/


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555083 - 12/05/12 04:13 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

One of Russell Porter's famous cutaway drawings of the 200-inch Hale

http://stellafane.org/history/early/drawings.html

http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/images/cutaway.jpg


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555084 - 12/05/12 04:16 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

Porter's drawing of the prime focus cage

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555086 - 12/05/12 04:18 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

Pictorial history of the observatory part 1

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555087 - 12/05/12 04:18 AM Attachment (13 downloads)

Pictorial history of the observatory part 2

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555088 - 12/05/12 04:20 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

Back to the 200-inch

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555089 - 12/05/12 04:21 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

The 200-inch (left) telescope and the aluminizing chamber (right)

http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/aluminization.html


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555093 - 12/05/12 04:24 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

The 200-inch telescope's Hartman screen

http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Hartmann+Screen


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555094 - 12/05/12 04:26 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

The observers from that week

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555095 - 12/05/12 04:27 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

One of the projects

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555096 - 12/05/12 04:28 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

And another

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555097 - 12/05/12 04:30 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

Some more shots of the interior

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555099 - 12/05/12 04:33 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

The 200-inch and its massive mount

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555100 - 12/05/12 04:34 AM Attachment (13 downloads)

The dome shutter

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555102 - 12/05/12 04:37 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

My wife is actually having a good time

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555103 - 12/05/12 04:39 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

The Palomar Observatory's smallest telescope

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555105 - 12/05/12 04:40 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

I deliberately wore one of my Stellafane shirts that day

http://stellafane.org/

http://stellafane.org/history/early/index.html


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555108 - 12/05/12 04:42 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

The bottom end of the 200-inch

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555111 - 12/05/12 04:46 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

My best shot of the 200-inch

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555114 - 12/05/12 04:53 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

One more photo before heading outside

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555115 - 12/05/12 04:55 AM Attachment (14 downloads)

Back in the sun

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555116 - 12/05/12 04:57 AM Attachment (13 downloads)

The far side of the dome

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555117 - 12/05/12 05:00 AM Attachment (14 downloads)

The concrete disk that was used to test the telescope's support structure during its construction

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555118 - 12/05/12 05:01 AM Attachment (15 downloads)

Peter snaps another shot of the disk and me

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555120 - 12/05/12 05:03 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

One amazing tree

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555122 - 12/05/12 05:04 AM Attachment (12 downloads)

Back to the museum

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555123 - 12/05/12 05:06 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

Walter Baade and M31

http://www.optcorp.com/edu/articleDetailEDU.aspx?aid=1012


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555125 - 12/05/12 05:07 AM Attachment (13 downloads)

Maarten Schmidt and 3C 273

http://spider.seds.org/spider/Misc/3c273.html

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1964ApJ...140....1G


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555127 - 12/05/12 05:10 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (D/1993 F2)

http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/Shoemaker-Levy.html


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555128 - 12/05/12 05:11 AM Attachment (14 downloads)

Gliese 229b

http://www.solstation.com/stars/gl229.htm


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555130 - 12/05/12 05:12 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

Sedna

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/16mar_sedna/


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555132 - 12/05/12 05:15 AM Attachment (25 downloads)

Adaptive optics in action

http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/AO/


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555133 - 12/05/12 05:18 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

The TMT - a telescope of the future

http://www.tmt.org/about-tmt


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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555135 - 12/05/12 05:19 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

The legacy of the 200-inch Hale Telescope

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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555137 - 12/05/12 05:20 AM Attachment (20 downloads)

Hale's Perfect Machine

http://www.pbs.org/programs/journey-to-palomar/

http://joeorman.shutterace.com/Articles/Article_florence.html


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555140 - 12/05/12 05:25 AM Attachment (17 downloads)

M1

http://messier.seds.org/m/m001.html

http://messier.seds.org/more/m001_palo.html#malin1993


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555142 - 12/05/12 05:26 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

A final shot of the museum

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555143 - 12/05/12 05:28 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

And finally, three photos that I shot on the drive down Palomar Mountain

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555144 - 12/05/12 05:31 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

Looking back up the mountain

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555145 - 12/05/12 05:32 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

le fin

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star drop
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555214 - 12/05/12 07:26 AM

Thank you for the excellent tour, Dave!

Quote:

My wife is actually having a good time



That is a good thing considering that it is a long walk home.


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Michael Rapp
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: star drop]
      #5555305 - 12/05/12 08:56 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you,...thank you! For that marvelous tour! That was fun!

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Orion58
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5555344 - 12/05/12 09:30 AM

Excellent trip report Dave!

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ensign
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Orion58]
      #5555366 - 12/05/12 09:48 AM

Thanks, Dave. I made the same trek in 2010. Your excellent trip report brought back memories of that trip. Wouldn't it be cool if you got to go "behind the glass?"

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panhardModerator
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555391 - 12/05/12 10:05 AM

That is a very nice series of photos.

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herrointment
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: panhard]
      #5555408 - 12/05/12 10:17 AM

I was semi-obsessed with this beautiful machine in my childhood.

Thank you for the tour I've always wanted to take!!!

The dome is perfection exemplified.


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RedLionNJ
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: herrointment]
      #5555422 - 12/05/12 10:25 AM

Your visit sounds extremely similar to mine a couple of years back. I even have most of the same photos! The roads up to Mt Palomar and Mt Wilson are NOTHING compared to the highway up to Mt Hamilton (Lick Observatory). THAT is one scary road

Thanks for sharing, Dave - brings back fond memories!

Grant


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csa/montana
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5555451 - 12/05/12 10:44 AM

Dave, yet another thank you for such a marvelous tour of a fantastic Observatory! For those of us that will never be able to see them ourselves; your photo tours have been a wonderful experience for us!

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mountain monk
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5555495 - 12/05/12 11:10 AM

Dave, Thanks for that wonderful show. A big hit of nostalgia for me since I was raised in Oceanside and our schools would often offer field trips to Palomar---that would have been in the 1950s. It certainly kindled my interest in the skies, but my little cardboard refractor suffered a bit in comparison.

Enjoy the night sky.

Jack Turner


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wirebender
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: mountain monk]
      #5555780 - 12/05/12 02:30 PM

Thanks for your time in the posting of these observatories Dave.
Job well done.
Thanks Dave.
Mike.


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jturie
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: wirebender]
      #5555869 - 12/05/12 03:33 PM

Thanks for taking the time to post these three trip reports. I enjoyed looking at the pictures. Got to get there someday.

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MDB
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: jturie]
      #5555919 - 12/05/12 04:15 PM

Thanks Dave for another great trip report!
My first exposure to the mighty 200 inch Hale telescope was in the mid 1950's, first grade and the 'Weekly Reader' and it's as awe inspiring today as it was then.

Mike


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GeneT
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5556018 - 12/05/12 05:08 PM

Great report! Have you visited before? If not, I would bet that this was a 'bucket list' item, right?

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Gary Riley
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: GeneT]
      #5556144 - 12/05/12 06:30 PM

Wonderful post Dave! Thanks a bunch for sharing your trip and photos of Mt. Palomar Observatory with the rest of us.

Gary


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5556523 - 12/05/12 10:03 PM

Good stuff, Dave! Thanks for posting all the pictures.

David


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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: GeneT]
      #5556552 - 12/05/12 10:18 PM

Quote:

Great report! Have you visited before? If not, I would bet that this was a 'bucket list' item, right?




Thanks. It was my first visit to the observatory. I hadn't been to California for many years. My brother and I were thinking about stopping at Palomar on the way back from Ensenada, Mexico, back in the 1980s but we ran out of time.


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Danzup77
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5556786 - 12/06/12 01:48 AM

Yes Yes! I used to go up here frequently during my 3 year stay at Camp Pendleton. I miss the old South West....even got caught in a snow storm up there once. Had to follow the plow truck down

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rdandrea
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: Dave Mitsky]
      #5557227 - 12/06/12 10:27 AM

Wonderful report. Thanks!

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George N
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5557973 - 12/06/12 05:46 PM

Great pictures Dave! ….and I’m glad to see that you had a Stellafane shirt on!

When I visited, about 8 years ago, they were painting over the rust on the 200-inch. A week or so later at Stellafane I sat “under the tent” in the rain for the main talk which was about the connection between the two places (mostly Porter).

After the scope was completed, but before fully commissioned, RW Porter and a small group of astronomers and engineers actually used the scope visually for a night, and that was back when they had dark skies. They describe M-13 as looking like the contents of a spilled sugar bowl.


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ducatirob
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: George N]
      #5560482 - 12/08/12 07:43 AM

Great report, really enjoyed it, Thanks

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NeilMac
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: ducatirob]
      #5562337 - 12/09/12 12:15 PM

Great pictures !! Thanks!

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SteveNH
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5562634 - 12/09/12 03:21 PM

Again, thanks Dave, great report, enjoyed the photos like I was actually there.

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Dave Mitsky
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Re: My Visit to the Palomar Observatory new [Re: ensign]
      #5589718 - 12/26/12 01:05 PM

Quote:

Thanks, Dave. I made the same trek in 2010. Your excellent trip report brought back memories of that trip. Wouldn't it be cool if you got to go "behind the glass?"




Mike,

I missed out on an opportunity to have private tours of Mt. Wilson and Palomar and an observing session with the 60" telescope at Mt. Wilson back in 1997 when the Antique Telescope Society held its yearly convention in Pasadena. Had I learned of the trip a bit earlier I would have been able to attend.

Dave Mitsky


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