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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Carnegie Observatories Open House

If you were not at the Carnegie Observatories open house last weekend (and you might have been, it was crowded), you missed the Hale Library, which, predictably, was my favorite part. I have a thing for libraries.

The Observatories building, designed by Myron Hunt and hiding in a residential area on Santa Barbara Street, is not often open to the public, so I was excited to snoop around inside. There's an expansive interior yard, a machine shop my husband would trade the house, me, and even the dog for, and some solar telescopes I didn't get to see because the line was too long. And more. Science. It takes up space.

The Hale Library is named for George Ellery Hale, one of Pasadena's most multi-talented early citizens. An astronomer, he founded Mount Wilson Observatory among others, and also mentored Edwin Hubble. Hale was a civic minded type, instrumental in how Pasadena's civic center was laid out. The Pasadena Permit Center building, kitty-corner to City Hall, is named for him.

The open house was pretty cool. I got a lot of pictures. I'll pepper them in here on the old blog from time to time. To take this picture, my camera looked through a pair of Rainbow Glasses (made in Reseda!) that demonstrated a fancy-looking machine so popular I never got near it.

Were you there in the crowd? If you got a look at that machine I'll be interested to know what you saw through your Rainbow Glasses.

14 comments:

John Sandel said...

Whoa—freshman year in college. Third-floor dorms. 1977. Dude …

dive said...

Woah indeedy, John! I was about to comment on Petrea's beautiful photo when you hit me with a 1977 flashback. No dorm for me, though; I spent my first uni year living in a squat with a Greek girl, a French girl and a Botswanan Bob Marley fanatic.
My memories of the time do rather resemble Petrea's photo …

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Ditto on the above... Lucy in the sky with diamonds......( and no, never did)

Petrea Burchard said...

I wonder if your memories are the kinds of things that get astronomers started.

I have a feeling it's the other way around. In other words, they find what you found, but they don't have to ingest it and it doesn't go away in a few hours. It's real!

Bellis said...

You're so right about the astronomers. Most of them were turned onto it at a young age, 6 or 7, and have been passionate about it ever since. Their work is their hobby. I don't think you can say that about lawyers.

Petrea Burchard said...

You've got that right, Bellis.

I loved my introductory astronomy classes in college and talked to my professor about majoring in it. He had me pegged, though. He knew I was a romantic and I was all about the imagery. I tried, but I couldn't handle the physics.

TheChieftess said...

Trade you, the house and Boz in for a machine shop???? Not John!!!

Ann Erdman said...

Carnegie Observatories is one of the best kept secrets in Pasadena, hiding in plain sight!

By the way, Gina commented on my Faceboook note about my most recent blog post in which I got to the bottom of a long-time Confederate family legend. She wrote: "Have Petrea tell you about our great-great grandfather Adam Washington Ballenger, in whose honor a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was inaugurated at Inman, S. Carolina in 1996."

Petrea Burchard said...

Chieftess, let's just say I'm not showing him the pictures.

Ann, she knows way more about Adam than I do! She visited historic sites and read up about him in local archives. I didn't even know until now that the chapter of the SCV was in his name. Both my sisters have researched our family history--Gina the Ballenger side and Margot the Burchard side. Our cousin Richard has also done a good deal of Burchard research.

Adele said...

That is so interesting! Never even knew this existed. "Best kept secret" is right! I've always had a dream where I'll one day go to Cal Tech and get a degree. Amazing, since I (to put it lightly) do not excel in the sciences. But I love this stuff anyway!

Ms M said...

Sounds like a fascinating open house to attend.

Very cool photo. It does remind me of images from those anti-drug films they showed in junior high, that insinuated that if you took even one drag of weed you would instantly become an addict, acid freak, and heroin junkie.

Dina said...

Fascinating picture you came up with!

Petrea Burchard said...

It's kind of amazing to be strolling down a residential street and come upon this place. A real surprise.

Ms. M, many of us are lucky those films were wrong.

thank you, Dina!

Margaret said...

I never even heard of it. Cool.