Jet Propulsion Labs and Mt Wilson Observatory in harm’s way

mount wilson telescope by FlyingSinger
JPL threatened by fires:
[Via Bad Astronomy]

[Update (19:40 MT): On Twitter right now, several friends are saying Mt. Wilson — a very famous and historic observatory — may get hit by these fires. As of this moment, news is unclear. Yikes.]

[Update II (20:40 MT): Clifford Johnson has heard that the authorities may have to let the …

What is amazing to me is that these fires in Southern California are apparently NOT being driven by the normal Santa Ana winds. These occur in the late fall, closer to the end of October. As someone said, getting fire without a Santa Ana wind is like getting snow on a cloudless day. It just should not happen.

Maybe they will be ‘lucky’ then and a lot of the possible fuel will have burnt off before the Santa Ana winds come in October. I guess one can hope.

Having spent time at JPL, and considering it lies right at the base of the San Gabriel mountains, I can imagine it might be under some stress. And the Mt. Wilson observatory is an important icon to those of us who went to CalTech.

If you’d like to stay on top of things, you can follow the Google maps page and watch updated photos from the Mt. Wilson Observatory camera (although this is getting so many hits that is sometimes does not load).

UPDATE: When I was a student at CalTech in the 70s, you could still see an area on the closet hills of the San Gabriels where CalTech students had cleared out a very large ‘C’ years before. I wonder if this is still there or whether it have disappeared over the years?

UPDATE II: Here is another good maplink with more info.

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