60 years ago today Edwin Hubble took the first astrophotos from Palomar's 200-inch Hale Telescope. You can hear me talking about this anniversary in a podcast as a part the 365 Days of Astronomy podcasts.
Here are a couple of photos to go with the occasion.
The photo above comes from the LIFE photo archive hosted by Google. In the picture you can see Edwin Hubble inside the prime focus cage high above the 200-inch primary mirror. In those nights the astronomer had to ride inside the telescope to take images and spectra of the objects they wanted to study. Long nights and winter temperatures were known to take their their toll on astronomers who eventually took to wearing World War II surplus electrically-heated flight suits.
Technology eventually came to the rescue. Palomar's astronomers no longer use glass photographic plates, favoring CCD cameras which are more sensitive to light and can be controlled from a warm room.
Edwin Hubble first target on January 26, 1949 was none other than NGC 2261, also known as Hubble's Variable Nebula. Here it is:
On a side note, yesterday's Pasadena Star News had an article on Hale. Pasadena History: Bigger, the better for Hale.