Obscura Society LA: Star Party at Mount Wilson - Atlas Obscura

Pasadena, California

Obscura Society LA: Star Party at Mount Wilson

Step into the darkness with Obscura Society LA for an evening of planets, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, and colorful double stars at the Mt. Wilson Observatory

Collecting ancient light in a 60-inch mirror, the Hale Telescope reflects images in your eye of beautiful objects, some that lie millions of light years away from earth.

In 1903, astrophysicist George Ellery Hale went on a hike in the San Gabriel Mountain. Resting at the summit of Mount Wilson, he realized that this was the perfect spot to build an observatory. In 1908, the Mount Wilson Observatory opened with the world’s largest telescope at the time, attracting preeminent scientists like Albert Einstein and Edwin Hubble.

Join Obscura Society LA and Field Agent Erin Johnson for an exclusive evening of observation with the historic 60-inch telescope. Assisted by a Telescope Operator and a Session Director, we will investigate objects in the night sky. While gazing, we will discuss various topics including the scientific discoveries of Mount Wilson, modern and ancient cosmology stories, and Hale’s interest in the mythical aspects of astronomy - like how did Hale get the name “Priest of the Sun?”

What would YOU like to see? We are taking requests! A list of viewable objects will be provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own list. For the super astronomy nerds, be aware that the telescope cannot be pointed lower than 30° above the horizon, or beyond +75° or –26° declination.

Ticket sales close on May 18th due to the need to submit a list of attendees and confirm.  Additionally, there are only 20 spots available!

Notes for this adventure:

- This star party is for Obscura Society LA only. We rented the place!

- The Star Party will begin approximately 8 pm. It all depends on the sunset. It will at end at 1 am. Please arrive on time, but you are welcome to leave early, though we recommend staying for all five star hours!

- Attendees will receive detailed driving directions/address closer to the date. 

- We cannot accommodate children under age twelve. All ticketed minor children must be accompanied by a ticketed responsible adult.

- Eat dinner before you come, but you may bring snacks. Just remember to bring enough to share! 

- The 100 year old dome is not ADA compliant, and the telescope is inaccessible to those who cannot climb the thirty stairs to the observing deck. The Observatory is at 5,700 feet elevation, so anyone with serious breathing or heart problems probably should not attempt the trip.

-Photography is encouraged! Only rule is that the flash must be disabled when the dome lights are off for viewing. 

-Carpooling is strongly encouraged, since parking space near the dome is limited to ten vehicles. Additional cars must remain in the main Skyline Park lot and visitors will shuttled from there to the dome and back in vehicles (no walking).

 - Bring a regular flashlight to use when leaving the dome to go to your car. The grounds are unlighted and are very uneven and hilly.

 - Alcohol is prohibited and no smoking or flames are allowed inside the dome at any time.