The Table Mountain Facility
1965 - 1986
A Brief Photographic History of the Development of the Table Mountain Facility
In this third series of pictures, JPL continued to expand its
optical and radio astronomy facilities.
In the picture below, another aerial shot from the JPL helicopter, the new 24-inch telescope
facility, completed in 1966, has been added on to accommodate a new 40-foot planetary
spectrograph, shown here in October, 1969. The 'coude' room addition, just in front of the
dome itself, has the ceiling doors open in a test for receiving the spectrograph later in the month.
In the far upper right, the old 8-foot radio astronomy dish mobile trailer has been replaced with
a new pedestal to mount an 18-foot millimeter wavelength radio dish.
During this expansion phase, some of the people involved are shown below in a candid shot taken
in 1969 just outside the site manager's office. From left to right, the site manager Mr. Earl S. Ivie,
myself, and Mr. Jay Dobbs, the JPL site construction inspector, share a brief moment together for
the JPL Photo Lab photographer.
Then in 1983, a new facility for the radio astronomy operations
was built to replace the older
original Smithsonian building. This is shown below in September, 1983.
In the two pictures that follow, the 16-inch facility is seen
first, in front of the radio science facility
and 18-foot dish off to the right. In the second photo, the 24-inch facility is seen looking SW. Both
of these pictures were taken in May, 1985.
In the summer of 1984, an interesting tip led us to a private
party having a 10-inch Schmidt Camera
that was not being used. He loaned it to JPL/Table Mountain for the purpose of photographing
Halley's Comet the following year. This particular Schmidt camera was the proto-type design of the
well known Palomar 48-inch Schmidt used to take the National Geographic Palomar Sky Survey
in the '50s. Our loan agreement allowed me to completely disassemble, refurbish, and reassemble
the camera into a small 10-foot dome. Over 200 hours were spent in this project, completed the
next year. In the picture below, I am explaining the camera operation to a fellow astronomer, Mr.
James Gibson, in May, 1986.
Table Mountain Facility, operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is located just west of the
town of Wrightwood, California at an elevation of 7500 feet.
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