Photos – Palomar Observing!

As the finale to the 2017 ZTF Summer Undergraduate Astronomy Institute, we visited the Palomar Observatory!  We had a chance to tour all of the telescopes on the mountain, and learn about the 48″ ZTF telescope – with its amazing new 47 square degree camera – as well as the 60″ robotic telescope. Of course the highlight of the evening was visiting the 200″ Palomar telescope, a true cathedral of science. We watched the telescope open up at twilight, and begin its surveying of the sky. As it moved effortlessly and glided toward its next target it was impossible not to marvel at this machine – part battleship and part scientific instrument. It gracefully moves its 75 ton mass toward new targets without any vibration and holds position to within a few millionths of a meter for hours. The dome glides silently toward a new position without any noise or shaking as it was engineered by a generation of technical minds that put all of the skills and knowledge of the 20th century into the systems that still work – nearly 100 years later. It was a marvellous night, and we also enjoyed experimenting with the new Ricoh Theta 2 all-sky camera, which allowed the students to pose for portraits in moonlight and starlight. Here are some of the Palomar 360 images – which can be explored in VR and allow you to recreate some of our adventures.

View outside of 200″ dome with Milky way and posing students –

Another night portrait by starlight outside the 200″ dome –

One view of the sky – with a bit of moonlight on the horizons –

One of our sharpest portraits – as the moon was still up –

Portrait with students viewing Saturn on small telescopes – blurred as it was a 1-minute exposure –

All sky view showing moon brightly shining on left –

Group photo at base of 200″ telescope near sunset –

In awe – at the base of the 200″ telescope as it begins to explore the universe –

View inside of 48″ telescope – with ZTF system visible –

View inside the 60″ telescope dome with Kevin explaining the workings of the robotic telescope –

Another view of the 60″ telescope –

Group photo outside of the 60″ telescope dome:

Below are the regular 2D images from our Palomar night!