A California wildfire practically destroyed the historic Lick observatory

Lick Observatory

Enlarge / Lick Observatory (credit score: Invoice Dally | Getty Pictures)

On the morning of Sunday, August 16, freak summer time thunderstorms rolled into the Bay Space, peppering the ultra-dry panorama with lightning, setting practically 400 fires throughout Northern California. Ten miles to the north of the historic Lick Observatory, atop Mount Hamilton close to San Jose, one such blaze was closing in, and quick: By Tuesday morning, the flames had been 6 miles away. That evening, the California Division of Forestry and Hearth Safety, or Cal Hearth, made the decision to evacuate the power’s 30-odd residents and workers members, save for the superintendent, Kostas Chloros, who’d keep on to coordinate the protection of one of many world’s most cherished observatories.

It was right here that in 1969 astronomers made the primary laser lunar ranging, calculating the exact distance to the moon. The observatory has helped scientists discover the construction of the universe, discovering the plenty of close by galaxies, in addition to black holes and quasars. Its Automated Planet Finder robotic telescope has been instrumental—actually and figuratively—in sniffing out the exoplanets that orbit distant stars.

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