I went on a campout with the Boy Scouts, and on Saturday we went to Palomar Observatory. I am working on my astronomy merit badge, too. The hike was 2.5 miles each way. The observatory looks like a giant white dome with a rectangular strip on the side and top. That strip opens up when the telescope is being used. When we arrived, we went into a room that they called the basement even though it was not below the building.
It stored spare parts and such. Then, we saw the telescope itself. It is huge!
They have a place for different mirrors for the telescope. The different mirrors work well for different functions. Their smallest one is 48 inches and their biggest is 200 inches. They were the first observatory to have a 200-inch mirror. They are the 19th largest observatory in the world. This observatory was built around the time of World War II. The sinks in the bathroom are weird because they have two faucets. One sends out hot water and one sends out cold water.
The tour was very fun!
You may also like:
Interview with My Grandfather about Working on the Apollo Space Missions