The Eastside is rich in natural beauty, steep and dramatic that makes it ideal setting for the sciences. Whether it’s geology or flowers or testing Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity or looking for galaxies beyond the Milky Way and even dark matter, the Eastern Sierra is a giant laboratory to test theories and the study the world, and the worlds around us. The California Institute of Technology took advantage of the area’s dry conditions and little to no light pollution to construct the Owens Valley Observatory in the 1950s. John Bolton is credited with founding the facility.
Known locally as the Big Ears, there are free tours given the first Monday of every month. The facility is a collection or array of 10 dishes is located near the Owens River, east of Big Pine. The biggest telescope seen from Highway 395 is 40-meters in diameter. Three more scopes were constructed in 1966. An interferometer of six 10-meter dishes have been used to understand star formation and galactic structure.
These are not the kind of telescopes you look through to see the craters on a full moon. These telescopes are used to study radiowaves. Research has included the search for dark matter, observing gravitational bending of light and mapping of the sun. It is the largest facility of its kind funded by a university.
Find more information on the web at https://www.ovro.caltech.edu/.
Mike Bodine has been reporting on the small town news and gossip of the Eastside for more than 15 years.