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September 07, 2009

Re "History in the line of fire," Opinion, Sept. 2

Outstanding column by Tim Rutten. As one who has made the "pilgrimage" to Mt. Wilson many times (and Palomar, Lick and many other observatories), I wish more people would come to value the places where the truth has been pursued and found.

Unfortunately, that seems to be asking too much of many people today. Maybe good writing on the subject will get them thinking.

Robert Jones

Running Springs

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Rutten's column makes a very important statement about the heritage of our great observatory that must be preserved. It appears Mt. Wilson will be spared from destruction by the Station fire and will continue to serve as a monument to the founding of modern astronomy and astrophysics.

It will also continue to serve science as it enjoys the excellent atmospheric conditions described.

Harold A. McAlister

Atlanta

The writer is the director of the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

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When we lived in Sierra Madre (my wife and I were scientists at Caltech), we spent a lot of time in the San Gabriel Mountains, climbed Mt. Wilson and visited the observatory.

On many occasions we marveled that there were millions of people below us -- and so few who bothered to spend time in this magnificent wild area. Los Angeles is so extraordinary in having wild and magnificent country so close.

We hope the Angeles National Forest recovers before too much time has passed.

Allan C. Dobbins

Homewood, Ala.

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Very fine column on Mt. Wilson, my numero uno observatory on this planet. It is interesting how valuable something becomes when you are about to lose it; Rutten captured how some of the most important discoveries of science history were made right up the mountain from L.A. Incredible.

Michael Shermer

Altadena

The writer is the head of the Skeptics Society.

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