Einstein and Hubble once looked at these iconic LA telescopes. Now you can rent them
Mason is a member of Christ Community Church in West Covina. Tonight, some of his colleagues are renting the telescope.
Vicki Heim is part of the congregation. When it comes to her favorite celestial sighting, she doesn’t hesitate.
âOh, I love Saturn. It’s my favorite, âshe said.
For Heim, the question of God versus science is a non-problem. âTo me, it just couldn’t be anything other than God’s creation,â she said. “Just no possibility.”
And that includes the telescope? Heim glances at the craft looking up at the sky. âYeah,â she laughed. ” Yes. “
A sanctuary of science
For the 60-inch telescope, your rental bill is $ 1,050 for a half-night and $ 1,700 for the entire night. Plus, you get coffee, cold cuts, and brownies to go with Quasars, Nebulae, and White Dwarfs.
So how has this sanctuary of science become a fun night out for anyone with a credit card? Just too much light. Astronomy loves the dark.
By the late 1990s, Los Angeles had become the zero point for light pollution. As scientific research moved from Mount Wilson to low-power places like Chile, the decision was made to open the facility to the public.
This rare opportunity has drawn all kinds of people to the mountain. Some come to marvel and while there is a strict no alcohol policy, others come to party.
âIn fact, in the other dome tonight there’s even a birthday party,â Mason said. âWe had an engagement here, we even had a wedding party that ended after the wedding before they started their honeymoon. Now they didn’t stay too long, but that’s for them to decide.
A “divine order of things”
Sunshine Daye came from Long Beach with an open mind and no real idea what she would be going through. She is not part of the religious group. A friend gave him a ticket.
As she stepped away from the telescope, she looked stunned – even with her mask on.
“Wow. I’m looking at what appear to be dots, but it’s actually the planets, and by sharpening the eyepiece I can see how different the two planets are. It’s amazing to be able to see this far,” she declared.
So, looking through that window on top of a mountain in the far reaches of space, what is she thinking about?
“I think about what’s going on out there in the sky that’s actually going on inside of me. Like all of my cells and capillaries, my organs, how things sort of orbit and rotate, how my lungs fill with air. There’s just like this divine order of things, “Daye said.
âThese are things I think about when I come to places like this. Having it to rent and being able to come and see it is absolutely brilliant.
This story originally aired on Grand LA of KCRW.