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Mount Wilson Observatory: Topics in Chronicling America

Founded in 1904, the Mount Wilson Observatory became a powerful tool for astronomers and researchers. This guide provides access to material related to the "Mount Wilson Observatory" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Picture Diagram of Mount Wilson Observatory Near Pasadena and Los Angeles, California, and Showing How the Great 100-Inch Reflecting Telescope, Now Nearly Completion There, Will Operate." August 20, 1916. Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, VA), Image 40. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Completed in 1905 in Pasadena, California, the Mount Wilson Observatory served as an observation and research center for some of the brightest astronomers of the day. In 1917, the world’s largest telescope, the Hooker Telescope, was installed at the Mount Wilson Observatory, providing a powerful tool to astronomers for years to come. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1905 Mount Wilson Observatory opens in Pasadena, California.
1906 A special automobile is used to move the 60 inch telescope lens up to the Mount Wilson Observatory.
1913 Research conducted at Mount Wilson Observatory proves that volcanic ash in the Earth’s atmosphere lowers the surface temperature.
1917 The world’s largest telescope, with a lens of 100 inches, is installed at the observatory.