Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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Palomar Observatory ~ Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lest you think we're doing nothing but go to amusement parks and swim in the pool on this trip, I can report that we also visited CalTech's Palomar Mountain Observatory (http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/mobile.html), whose 200-inch telescope was used to discover several of the newer (to human knowledge) members of our solar system such as 
Quaoar, Sedna, Eris (originally proposed to be named Xena), Haumea, and Orcus (lead astronomer Mike Brown has a nice blog: http://www.mikebrownsplanets.com/).

There is a small museum. One item on display is a CCD sensor built in the 1970's at CalTech for use in the telescope--basically an early digital camera, with 0.25 megapixels! There are also O and N scale models of the train that transported the 200" mirror from the Corning glass plant in New York State.

On the way down the mountain we found an artesian spring which has been piped into drinking fountains. The water really does taste pretty good. We even dumped out a water bottle full of Redwood City tap water to refill with some of the spring water to drink later.

Heading back to civilization we passed through the town of Pala, which has a mission and is in an Indian reservation--this is (according to wikipedia) the only California mission that has persisted as part of a community descended from the original mission Indian inhabitants. 

We also found a produce stand that sold local avocados and honey from bees who take pollen from avocado flowers--it's good, with a slightly intenser-than-usual flavor. 

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