Mt Wilson in the clear?

September 2, 2009
Martin Mars tanker flies over the dome of the 100-inch Hooker telescope on Mt Wilson.

Martin Mars tanker flies over the dome of one of the CHARA array telescopes the 100-inch Hooker telescope on Mt Wilson.

Yes and no. No because the Station Fire is still a going concern and one front of it is still on the move in the Mt Wilson area. Yes because there are lots of firefighters up there now and the Mt Wilson pumps have been repaired, so the firefighters have access to 750,000 gallons of water on site. That’s equivalent to 100 Martin Mars drops or 37.5 drops by the 747 supertanker. Also, a series of backfires around the observatory has cleared a lot of the fuel from in front of the advancing Station Fire.

The fire has put Mt Wilson back in the public eye. Astronomy has a great article on the history of the observatory and some of the cool ongoing projects there, and the LA Times has a nice op-ed piece about the observatory’s importance. Internet lines to the mountain are out, so the observatory has a backup website with regular updates here. Also check out some amazing photographs of the current LA area fires here, here, and here; image at top from that last link.


  1. Thanks for the updates, Matt. Hopefully all goes well!

  2. The telescope pictured is one of the six CHARA telescopes. The 100 inch dome is much bigger than those.

  3. Good catch, thanks.

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