In August 2009, a team from SPIE visited the Palomar Observatory, about 65 miles northeast of San Diego. In a year celebrating both the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope and the 60th anniversary of the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar, Palomar is no historical artifact despite no longer reigning as the world's largest.
Observatory superintendent Dan McKenna talks on this video about Palomar's innovative research and its important mission of outreach to inspire younger generations of future scientists.
The Palomar Observatory is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology. It is home to five telescopes that are nightly used for a wide variety of astronomical research programs. The research is conducted by Caltech's faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students, and by researchers at Caltech's collaborating institutions.
The 200-inch Hale Telescope was dedicated in 1948 after many years of observatory construction and mirror polishing, interrupted by World War II. Full-time science observations began in 1949.
Palomar Observatory website
Unique Sky Survey Brings New Objects into Focus (Caltech press release)