Today, at 2:45 p.m. PDT (5:45 p.m. EDT or 10:45 p.m. GMT), be sure to tune into the extra special Venus transit live video feed from the famous Mt. Wilson Observatory. I will be there, co-hosting a pretty awesome live event from the historic site with Mike Simmons, President and Founder of Astronomers Without Borders. We also have a surprise, rather sci-fi announcement in store too. For a run-down of all the festivities and the live feed, take a look at the AWB transit pages.
I will be surrounded by real astronomers with huge telescopes, so there will likely be lots of opportunities to see me geek out over some awesome views of this once-in-a-lifetime event (well, two if you saw the 2004 transit… or if you’re really young and live to see the 2117 Venus transit!). I will also be taking my patented “eclipse viewing” kit — a $1 pair of eclipse glasses and my Nikon CoolPix camera — to see if I can get a very amateur photo of Venus’ silhouette!
See you at the summit!
Update (14:07 PDT): Mount Wilson’s server has now gone offline it seems. The webpage with fire updates stopped functioning a little before 14:00 PDT and the Towercam is no longer sending images to the mirror website. The last image was taken at 13:49 PDT. Although we were warned this may happen due to power outages to the observatory, this is the first time it’s been offline since the start of the fires.
13:25 PDT: In a bad turn of events, the Station Fire reached the summit of Mount Wilson, coming within feet of the observatory buildings. It seems possible that this fire may be due to secondary effects from the Station Fire (i.e. airborne embers). Watch the unfolding events via the KTLA helicopter.
The 150ft Solar Tower and the 100″ Hooker Observatory are both under siege from the smoke and fire. Fortunately, the fires aren’t as active as they have been, possibly due to increased humidity in the region, but this is obviously a concern. However, fire crews appear to be controlling the blaze so far. According to @CalFireNews, fire crews are in the area protecting the structures:
*Station IC* There are between 5-8 Engines providing Structure protection for Mount Wilson. — CalFireNews
In case you cannot access the Solar Tower’s Towercam, check the mirror site.
My thoughts are with the fire crews bravely fighting the fires around the observatory.