The “Big Eye” on Palomar Mountain

Past a highway sided by orange groves, avocado stands, and an occasional patch of prickly pear cactus, and up a road that winds through the campgrounds and hiking trails of the Cleveland National Forest, sits the famed 200-inch Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain in north San Diego County, California.  The 200-inch was the largest effective telescope in the world for 44 years, and unquestionably the most famous until the Hubble Space Telescope.  It’s still an impressive sight up close and remains a workhorse of modern astronomy.
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Leviathan of Parsonstown

In 1845, William Parsons built a 72-inch reflecting telescope that dwarfed all other instruments of its day. With this “Leviathan”, Parsons discovered the spiral shape of many galaxies and studied the nature of gaseous nebula. The telescope reigned as the world’s largest for nearly 80 years and was a stunning achievement of 19th century engineering.
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Yerkes Observatory

The world’s largest refractor lives at Yerkes Observatory on Lake Geneva in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. More than a home for telescopes, Yerkes is the “birthplace of modern astrophysics” because it was the first observatory to house chemistry and physics laboratories to study astrophysical processes.

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