Watching Stars Explode From Mount Wilson

For 100 Years, Scientists Have Been Making Historic Discoveries About Our Universe, Right Here in Los Angeles

At the top of Mount Wilson on a dark, quiet night, the sprawling city lights of Los Angeles flicker in the valley below. Across the mountain, several telescope domes are interspersed among the tall pine trees. I gather with a group of astronomers in an office building near the immense dome of the 97-year-old telescope with a mirror 100 inches across. Using a computer, we point six smaller telescopes on the mountain toward an exploding star located 14,800 light years from our sun.

It might be hard to believe that we …

These Days, Darwin Would Need To Know More About Jupiter

What Can Astronomers Teach Biologists?

The more we learn about the universe, the more it looks like the building blocks of life—organic molecules, amino acids, planets near a sun—are present throughout. Much of what we …