Normally, toward the end of the semester, Glendale Community College Professor Jenny Krestow would be taking her astronomy students to Mount Wilson Observatory for a session with the historic 60-inch telescope. Unfortunately, the pandemic and Bobcat fire made that impossible. So instead, on the night of November 12, 2020, Carnegie astronomer Chris Burns worked with Krestow and Mount Wilson’s Executive Director Tom Meneghini to install a fast digital camera on the 60-inch telescope, which enabled Krestow’s students to connect via Zoom and have a live view through the telescope. The night was a success and in some ways a proof-of-concept for future remote-viewing events such as the December 21st conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, which drew a huge online audience (more than 11,000 at peak).
Today, we continue to do bi-monthly remote viewings at Mount Wilson with the support of funding that normally would go to financing school field trips to GCC’s planetarium. And while we’ve been primarily targeting K-12 students, anyone is welcome to join in via YouTube. For dates/times and links, visit the GCC planetarium website. More details about the equipment we use are available here.