One of the things we like to point out on tours of the 200-inch telescope is the ladder at the top of the dome. Can you see it in this shot?
If not, here is a zoom of the photo above:
That ladder is about the highest place you can go inside the dome of the Hale Telescope. Earlier this week I had the chance to go up there for the first time.
To get there one has to go up the prime focus elevator across a walkway, up a ladder, across an interior walkway and down another ladder to the walkway with this ladder.
Here is Greg, one of the observatory's electronicers, up on the walkway right next to the ladder:
It doesn't look high at all, does it? Of course, if you look down . . . . you'll notice that you are up very high. I took this shot, looking down, just as I was about to climb up the ladder and into the dome:
It is a long, long way down from there with nothing underneath except the observing floor, or the glass roof to the visitors gallery. Click on the photo to see it larger and you can easily see the interior cat walk, the visitors gallery (which was unfortunately empty when I took the shot), and the zig zag stairs that go from the observing floor up over the data room to the catwalk. It is a perspective you don't often see and a trip that is not for the faint of heart.