Speachless Sunday ~ Palomar Observatory, Palomar Mountain CA

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Speachless Sunday ~ Palomar Observatory

Located at 5500 feet above sea level, Palomar Observatory is home to 5 different telescopes that are used nightly by the California Institute of Technology. It is a world class location for astronomical research. The largest, most recognized telescope at Palomar Observatory is the 200" Hale Telescope. For 45 years (1948-1993) the Hale Telescopewas the worlds largest telescope. It has been used to identify numerous nebula, Neptune, Mars, and earth bound comets. Weather permitting, this specific telescope will collect data 290 nights out of the year.  

The construction of the Palomar Observatory dome to house the Hale Telescope began in 1936. The piers are anchored to the bedrock 22 feet below ground. The finished dome is 135 feet tall and 137 feet in diameter. Coincidentally, these dimensions are similar to the Parthenon in Rome. The dome weighs approximately 1000 tons. It is hard to imagine from these pictures, but it really is an amazing sight. Once the dome had been completed, the construction of the telescope began. Construction was temporarily suspended during World War II as many of the engineers and scientists were reassigned to war related projects. Completion of the telescope occurred in 1948 and was dedicated to George Hale (who was responsible for getting the project approved but died in 1938) on June 3, 1948.

The Palomar Observatoryis open 363 days of the year. They are closed on December 24th and 25th. They are open from 9:00 am to 3 pm Standard timeand 9:00 to 4 pm during Daylight Savings. There is a small museum and you have the option of a self-guided tour of the telescope or if there are enough people, they offer guided tours. It is a great day adventure and half the fun is getting there! It is worth the drive-go check it out!

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Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Stephanie, It looks like a great place to visit.  I've always been intrigued with astronomy and I'm sure I would enjoy visiting.  I'm glad to hear the one holiday they close for is Christmas.

Aug 01, 2010 03:49 PM #1
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor


It definitely is a familiar landmark. Thanks for adding a little history of the observatory. :)


Aug 01, 2010 04:37 PM #2
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Stephanie, Observatories are fascinating to me and the Palomar Observatory is very impressive. Would definitely want to visit this whenever we visit your area and also enjoyed the history about it, too :)

Aug 01, 2010 05:07 PM #3
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Stephanie, I  have the Palomar Observatory on my places to visit and do a photo collection. Very nice comprehensive presentation and I am looking forward to getting there. Very nicely done!!

Aug 01, 2010 05:48 PM #4
Lori Cofer
Beasley Realty - Moscow, ID
REALTOR, Moscow Idaho Real Estate

How cool is that .... a perfect place to take the kids on family field trip...........


Lori Cofer

Aug 02, 2010 04:28 PM #5
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

As facinated by the heavens as I am, I have never been to an observatory.  I've known about Palomar since I was a small kid.  Shame on me for not having already visited.  I would want to visit at night though, not during day hours. . .What's up with their hours for allowing visitors?

Aug 03, 2010 12:34 AM #6
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTORĀ®, Blogger, Principal BrokerĀ®, Owner

This is a great place to bring kids and to see how small we really are....

your friend in Charlottesville

Aug 03, 2010 12:36 AM #7
Diane Williams
Pell City, AL

Interesting information.   If my son went there, he wouldn't come back. What a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing.

Aug 03, 2010 12:48 AM #8
Stephanie Reynolds
Integrity First Financial Group, Inc. - Santee, CA
East County San Diego Homes 619-838-4408

We were disappointed that we were unable to visit during evening hours as well. We actually went up there the first time as it was getting dark hoping to see the telescope in action. Unfortunately it interferes with the actual work being done there. You would think though that they would have at least one evening a month or something!

Aug 03, 2010 03:56 AM #9
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

That would be an interesting place to visit, I'm sure the vistas and pictures would be amazing.

Aug 06, 2010 02:26 PM #10
Pamela Jenkins
Realty Ink Marketing - International, IT

Stephanie, Great article. I also enjoyed all the comments. I think this would be a fantastic place to bring the kids. I agree that it is a shame they don't offer night tours! Thank you for the great information on places to see.

Aug 09, 2010 05:24 PM #11
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Stephanie Reynolds

East County San Diego Homes 619-838-4408
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