We’re headed to the Palomar Observatory today. The story of the vision and struggle of George Ellery Hale to bring forth this wonder of discovery resonates deeply with me. George Hale dreamed of looking beyond what anyone else could have imagined. He was nearly driven mad by the quest to make this a reality.
From Hale’s giant window into the Universe at Mt. Wilson, Edwin Huble discovered a moving Universe. He peered into The Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson and found there were multiple Universes at a time that it was believed that our Milky Way was the only one.
The dedication to science and his unending quest for knowledge nearly drove Hale to the brink. He persisted, and his gift to humanity is nearly incalculably rich. Hale wrote a letter to The Rockefeller Foundation in 1928 seeking funds to build the Palomar;
“No method of advancing science is so productive as the development of new and more powerful instruments and methods of research. A larger telescope would not only furnish the necessary gain in light space-penetration and photographic resolving power, but permit the application of ideas and devices derived chiefly from the recent fundamental advances in physics and chemistry.”
I will bring back some film from our outing today but you can dive deeper by watching this excellent PBS Special – “The Journey to Palomar”