Giant Telescopes of the 20th Century

Jeff Hecht

Two mountaintop telescopes in California—landmark engineering accomplishments of the past 100 years—revealed the expanding universe beyond our galaxy and reached billions of light years into the cosmos.

figure(Top) The Andromeda Galaxy. (Bottom) Aerial view of Mount Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriele Mountains, Calif., 1931. [Davide De Martin, Palomar Observatory / University of Chicago Library]

The start of the 20th century was an awkward moment for astronomy. The world’s three largest telescopes were all out of commission. It wasn’t for a lack of interest in astronomy. The big telescopes just didn’t work well—and seeing was poor at most observatories.

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Publish Date: 01 April 2017

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