Big Bear Solar Observatory
The natural landscape of Big Bear is one of breathtaking beauty, with tall green trees punctuating the meadows, majestic mountains standing guard in the background, and the lake shimmering in the foreground. Everywhere you turn, you find yet another detail that amazes you with its stunning appearance, and you have to wonder, can it get any better than this? The answer can be found in the skies, and the Big Bear Solar Observatory is the best place to view the beauty up above.
Location: Longitude: 116° 55' 17" W Latitude: 34° 15' 30" N Altitude: 2067m
For all the non-scientists out there, the street address of the Big Bear Solar Observatory is 40386 North Shore Lane in Big Bear City; we just thought it appropriate to give the scientific location first! Operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, it is home to one of the most powerful solar telescopes in the world, giving our scientists the opportunity to see clearly what is labeled the last frontier. Our clear skies and beautiful Big Bear Lake make this spot the best spot for the telescopes found here to do their jobs. There’s other, more technical explanations as to why this is so, but clear and beautiful work for us!
Built in 1969 by the California Institute of Technology, the observatory has been in constant use since then, changing hands in 1997. Primarily meant for studying the sun, there is an earthshine telescope that operates at night. The remainder of the telescopes run in the daytime, but are on rare occasions are used for nighttime matters, such as checking the alignment of the stars.
Starting in the spring, tours of Big Bear Solar Observatory are offered on the second and the fourth Thursday of the month from 2 until 3 PM. Costing nothing, they are a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to the magic of the sun, perhaps creating future scientists that will one day work here themselves! The tours allow you to get an up close and personal glimpse of the exciting work done here, including peeks at the space age technology involved with viewing the sun. Children cannot be allowed to roam unaccompanied and will be monitored throughout the tour. The equipment used at the Observatory is expensive and delicate, and no one wants to be held responsible for their damage!
Once the Tour is Complete
And you have a better understanding of the role the sun plays in our lives, it’s time to return to your Big Bear Vacations cabin and start appreciating the beauty of the night. Reserve yours today!