Palomar Observatory Observing
One of the highlights of the summer was our magical visit to Palomar Observatory – the world’s largest telescope from 1951 until 1988, and George Ellery Hale’s last masterpiece in steel and glass. The 200″ telescope is a monument to the inspiration and power of science, and is something of a cathedral of astronomy. We had the rare privilege of a night at the 200″ hosted by Dr. Thomas Kupfer, a member of our Caltech ZTF and GROWTH research team. The students were at the base of the giant telescope – looming five stories above us – as we opened the slit for the night’s observing. Students were able to help Thomas observe his white dwarf stars, which are in interesting eruptive binary systems, and to discuss with each other how their summer research projects were progressing. The students even sang a wonderful a capella concert in the dark at the base of the telescope, and wandered around the catwalk in the pristine and velvet black sky of a moonless night at Palomar. The skies, telescope, science and people were fantastic – making this one of the best visits I have ever had to Palomar! Thanks to Thomas and the students for making this such a great trip!