When the US Forest Service suggested that we scout the Mt. Wilson Observatory as a site for our AW21 runway show, I didn’t appreciate the significance of the location. Travelling up the windy roads of the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel mountains, I started researching the Observatory on my iPhone until my signal ultimately dropped as we drove a mile above Los Angeles.
When we got to the top, we were given a tour of the grounds and the Observatory by Executive Director of the Mount Wilson Institute, Tom Meneghini, who calls the Observatory the “Sistine Chapel of Astronomy.” I now understand why.
I learned that most advances in astrophysics in the modern era have emanated from here. Built in the early 1900s led by George Ellery Hale, the Observatory is home to 100-inch Hooker telescope where Edwin Hubble made the groundbreaking discovery confirming that the Andromeda Galaxy was indeed its own galaxy--proving the universe was bigger than anyone ever knew and more importantly, that it was expanding. These discoveries became the foundation for the Big Bang Theory and other great scientific achievements. Visited by Einstein and other preeminent scholars, Mt. Wilson has been the cornerstone of advanced astronomy.
What’s so special about this site for me is that it is nestled in some of the most beautiful forests I have easy access to from LA. You can go for a day hike and stumble upon the Observatory or view it in the distance from the hundreds of miles of trails throughout the forest.
For more information about the Observatory visit www.mtwilsdon.edu.
The Institute is a non-profit and donations can be made by clicking here.
For more information about the trails and surround areas visit the USDA Forest Service here.