A Photo Tour of the Palomar Observatory (Gallery)

The Palomar Observatory in southern California

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The Palomar Observatory in Southern California, the home of the iconic Hale telescope, was a powerhouse of astronomical discoveries for many years. Here's a photo tour inside the historic facility. Read the full article here.


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Hard hats near the door make the observatory's basement feel a little like a construction site.

Dim hallways

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The dimly lit hallways carry an orange tint used in many observatories at night.

Back to the beginning

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Sketches of the Hale telescope and other telescopes decorate one of the observatory's hallways.


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Massive beams support the 530-ton Hale telescope.

Separate supports

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Stretching across the ceiling, the beams keep the telescope separate from the building support, to reduce unwanted movement of the instrument.


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The vacuum chamber on the lower level is used to clean smaller mirrors.


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Clamps and bolts of varying sizes.

Stairway to...

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A metal stairway ascends to the second floor, where the Hale telescope awaits.

Hale telescope

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The bottom half of the Hale telescope. The original eyepiece was replaced by electronics.

Out and beyond

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Peering up through the telescope to the dome beyond.

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Nola Taylor Tillman
Contributing Writer

Nola Taylor Tillman is a contributing writer for Space.com. She loves all things space and astronomy-related, and enjoys the opportunity to learn more. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Astrophysics from Agnes Scott college and served as an intern at Sky & Telescope magazine. In her free time, she homeschools her four children. Follow her on Twitter at @NolaTRedd