Dominion Astrophysical Observatory celebrates 100 years

This weekend marks the centennial celebration for the Plaskett Telescope and the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) in Saanich.

On May 6, 1918, the first light fell onto photographic plates at the Plaskett Telescope, which was one of the three largest telescopes in the world for three decades.

Greg Fahlman, Director General of the National Research Council's Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysic Research Centre says photos show the enormous telescope being transported and pulled up Observatory Hill by horse and carriage in the early days.

"Back then if you had a big chunk of steel to move, loaded on a wagon with a big team of horses or mules, and you drove it down the road.  There are a whole series of pictures showing this wagon train going past Saanich Road, Interurban and it really is quite stunning to see this.

The observatory has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada as it is a world-renowned facility where many discoveries about the nature of the Milky Way were made.

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