Mount Wilson Observatory to Present Events Featuring Art, Film, Music, Talks and Telescopes, and More in 2023

Mount Wilson's 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes—the largest in the world made available to the public—will be open for stargazing.

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Mount Wilson Observatory, Southern California's esteemed home to over 100 years of groundbreaking astronomical discovery, has announced its 2023 season of public events and sky-viewings with a wide range of activities.

Once again, Mount Wilson's 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes-the largest in the world made available to the public-will be open for stargazing. The observatory's popular lecture series, Saturday Evening Talks & Telescopes, will feature speakers on astronomy and other topics of relevance to the Observatory, followed by an evening of viewing on the telescopes. The Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome series takes advantage of the astonishing acoustics in the 100-inch Observatory dome. Daytime and Engineering tours provide a behind-the-scenes look at the grounds and telescopes of the institution, established by George Ellery Hale in 1904.

2023's Recurring Seasonal Events, Tours, and Viewings


On the fourth (and in one instance, third) Saturday of each month-May through October-the observatory welcomes the public to its Saturday Evening Talks & Telescopes in its Lecture Hall for presentations by highly qualified experts followed by picnic dining, and then stargazing through the 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes after the sun goes down.

May 27 - Tim Thompson, JPL Science Division, Retd, and Mount Wilson Institute, "Conquering the Observable Universe: the James Web Space Telescope."

June 24 - Bethany Ehlmann, Caltech Professor of Planetary Science, "Lunar Trailblazer: A Pioneering Small Satellite for Lunar Water and Lunar Geology.

July 22 - Deborah Shapley, science journalist, "Harlow Shapley."

August 26 - TBA

September 23 - TBA

October 21 - Hal McAlister, Georgia State University and CHARA, "Seeing the Unseen: Zooming in on the Stars from Mount Wilson."


The finest music performed in the remarkable acoustics of the 100-inch dome! Now in its sixth season, Sunday Afternoon Concerts in the Dome presents daytime performances-two per date in fact-on the second Sunday of each month, May through October. The series, featuring jazz or classical programs, is thoughtfully curated by Artistic Director CĂ©cilia Tsan (Principal Cellist, Long Beach Symphony). The 100-inch dome is a 20th century temple to science whose acoustics rival the great cathedrals of Europe and provides a unique setting for this ambitious concert series.

Please be advised that access to the 100-inch dome's concert floor is via a 53-step metal staircase. There is no ADA-compliant access.

May 14: Lounge Art Ensemble

The only jazz concert of the season! Lounge Art Ensemble-Peter Erskine, drums, Bob Sheppard, saxophone, Darek Oles, bass-will perform in a program entitled "JAZZ! Carte Blanche." The repertoire will be announced at the concert.

June 11: Brass Quintet

Laura Brenes, French horn, Alex Iles & Bill Reichenbach, trombones, Jon Lewis & Dustin McKinney, trumpets. Program: "Dukas: Fanfare - Bach: Contrapunctus 1 - Ewazen: Colchester Fantasy - Debussy: Girl With the Flaxen Hair - America The Beautiful."

July 9: String Trio & Duo

Ambroise Aubrun, violin, Alma Fernandez, viola, Cecilia Tsan, cello. Program: "Haendel-Halvorsen: Passacaglia for Violin and Cello / Mozart: Divertimento in E flat for Violin, Viola and Cello."

August 13: Zelter String Quartet

Kyle Gilner & Gallia Kastner, violins, Carson Rick, viola, Allan Hon, cello. Program: "Mason: String Quartet No. 3 - Puccini: Crisantemi - Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 2 in A minor."

September 10: Long Beach Symphony Sextet

Roger Wilkie & Chloe Tardif, violins, Andrew Duckles & Jonah Sirota, violas, Cecilia Tsan & Allan Hon, cellos. Program: "Brahms Sextet in B Flat Major - Jonah Sirota: arrangements of various film scores."

October 8: Los Angeles Reed Quintet

Claire Brazeau, oboe, Don Foster, clarinet, Brian Walsh, bass clarinet, Anthony Parnther, bassoon, Patrick Posey, saxophone. Program TBA.


The Saturday or Sunday behind-the scenes Engineering Tours dive deep into the mechanical, optical, and electrical details of the Observatory's amazing historic instruments. The engineering that went into the 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes, both the biggest in the world for a period of time, represented the cutting edge of technology when they opened in 1908 and 1917 respectively.


These star-gazing evenings offer individual tickets for a night of viewing on the 60-inch and 100-inch telescopes. Bring a friend!


Mount Wilson's 60- and 100-inch telescopes can ALSO be reserved for groups of up to 20.


Viewing the sun through the Lunt Telescope is free and available on Saturdays and Sundays through October. It's also possible to access the 150-foot Solar telescope through Public Tours.


Docents lead Saturday and Sunday Weekend Public Tours take guests on a walking tour of the Mount Wilson grounds. Private tours are also available.
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Since its founding in 1904 by astronomer and visionary George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson Observatory has played host to some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy. Located on Mount Wilson, a 1,740-meter (5,710-foot) peak in the San Gabriel Mountains of the Angeles National Forest, Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) features the Snow Solar Telescope (largest in the world from 1905-1908 and the mountain's first installation), a 60-inch telescope (the world's largest operational telescope from 1908-1917), and the 100-inch Hooker telescope (which featured the world's largest aperture from 1917-1949). Mount Wilson Institute has independently operated and maintained the Mount Wilson Observatory since 1989 under a long-term agreement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The gates to Mount Wilson's acreage will open at 10:00am every day and close at sunset. The grounds are open to the public from April 1, through November 29, 2023, weather permitting. Entrance to the grounds is free. Visitors can hike, gaze at the telescope domes that dot the landscape, and take a look at historic Mount Wilson photos and letters in the Museum/Lecture Hall building.

All proceeds from ticketed events go to support Mount Wilson Institute in its mission to preserve, protect and promote the Observatory and its scientific accomplishments.

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Throughout the 20th century, Mount Wilson Observatory-founded by George Ellery Hale in 1904-attracted extraordinary scientific explorers who achieved monumental discoveries with the world's biggest telescopes at the time. It's where Harlow Shapley determined that the solar system was not the center of the then known universe and Edwin Hubble calculated the distance to Andromeda, which led to the discovery that the universe was expanding. Photo courtesy Mount Wilson Institute.


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