A Place For Exceptional Science

The Observatories environment reflects the values of an institution dedicated to enabling brilliant scientists to pursue their ideas with complete freedom. Our scientists are empowered to pursue long-term projects whose pace is dictated by the pace of discovery itself. It is this exceptional culture that has enabled the relatively small staff to make such disproportionately large contributions to astronomy.

All staff members are free to use their time as they see fit, and each uses it differently. Some develop instruments, some are involved in the affairs of the Observatories or the astronomical community, some pursue mostly their own research. Some work alone, but an increasing number are part of broad collaborative projects, both within and beyond the Observatories. Likewise, our postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to interact with the senior astronomers, but are free to follow their own paths.

Our scientists interact on a daily basis. Morning tea, held every day in the foyer of the lecture hall, attracts most staff members who are in town to talk about every conceivable subject, scientific or otherwise. Most gather again to eat lunch together in our gardens.

The Observatories are part of a large and exceptionally lively local astronomical community, which includes scientists from Caltech, JPL, and UCLA. Weekly colloquia at the Observatories and at Caltech attract many from all these institutions. We are also active in the Southern California community. There is an annual spring astronomy lecture series, annual open house every October, and outreach activities at local schools.
Visitors learn about our history in the Hale Library during the annual Observatories Open House.

Our Library

Home to a large astronomy and physics-related collection used to support the ongoing research at the Observatories. 

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GMT employees on a tour of the Observatories plate vault.

Our Plate Collection

Our Plate Vault houses the second largest collection of astronomical glass plates in the United States, comprising more than 200,000 glass plate negatives, including spectra, direct object images, and solar plates.

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At work in the machine shop.

Our Machine Shop

One of the things that makes the Observatories such an exceptional place to work is our on-site machine shop that allows astronomers, engineers, and other experts to build instruments that maximize the abilities of our telescopes to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

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