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The Journey to Palomar
The Journey to Palomar
Actor: pbs
Director: Todd Mason;Robin Mason
Genres: Television, Documentary
G     2008     1hr 30min

The film traces the story of the Chicago-born astronomer George Ellery Hale, considered the father of astrophysics, as he struggles personally and professionally to build the greatest telescopes of the 20th century at the ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: pbs
Director: Todd Mason;Robin Mason
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Science & Technology
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/18/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A great film about an extraordinary man!
E. Rydzinski | Temecula, CA | 11/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having seen this film 3 times now (most recently at a screening in the dome that houses his final creation, the 200" Hale Telescope) I am glad to finally be able to add it to my collection!

Journey to Palomar takes us along on the journey that was the life of George Ellery Hale. From a small boy up through the building of four of the worlds largest telescopes. The film makers also included some awesome information about the future of large telescopes. Thanks to Hale, we have a better understanding of the universe around us.

I consider this film a must see for anyone interested in Astronomy, and a great starting point for the rest of us. It shows us that one person through drive and determination can make a difference."
Absolutely Stunning
Stargazr | Florida | 11/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This documentary is just brilliant! What George Hale did for astronomy is mind boggling. I urge all of you reading this not to miss this enoromously important film. There is a book too, it's called The Perfect Machine by Ronald Florence."
Inspiring "Only in America" Scientific Story
John Stodder | livin' just enough | 04/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a beautiful documentary that tells a compelling story about how some very American traits -- individualism, salesmanship, sensationalism, competition, even greed -- became the basis for one of mankind's greatest scientific achievements, mapping the universe.

George Ellery Hale was born to privilege, but in Chicago, where even the wealthy and influential need a combination of sharp elbows and charm to get ahead. He applied what he learned in order to get support for the Yerkes Observatory from a dastardly streetcar tycoon, for Mt. Wilson from the ultimate captain of industry, Andrew Carnegie, and finally, for Mt. Palomar from the heirs of Rockefeller.

That Hale was driven by a passion for science, not personal wealth or glory, makes the story more fascinating. The man literally ran himself ragged in his quest to build telescopes that first proved and then added to Einstein's theories, eventually suffering from stress-induced hallucinations. As is said in the film, Hale had "the American disease" -- a nervous breakdown caused by ambition and overachievement.

At various points, there were serious doubts about the viability of Hale's ideas. The sequence at the Corning glass factory, illustrated by some amazing archival footage, is a good example. It was unknown whether glassmakers could produce a mirror of the size and perfection that would be needed to make the telescope work. The sequences demonstrates American ingenuity, but also shows the high degree of frustration and disappointment that must be tolerated along the way toward an engineering breakthrough.

The film effortlessly shifts between the drama of how the telescopes got built and what they taught us. At the end of the film, the filmmakers show us all of the scientific milestones that Mt. Palomar enabled, most of them long after Hale's death, proving that it is possible to get teary-eyed at recitation of facts about the cosmos.

George Hale's name is not one that most Americans think of when they think of the most important contributors to science to come from our shores. "The Journey to Palomar" should go a long way toward correcting that omission. Hale was one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century, and this film finally gives him his due in the motion-picture format."
The Journey to Palomar
OldWolf | USA | 02/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is a must for anyone teaching Astronomy and the history of US observational Astronomy weather as a Home-schooler or in a classroom .It presents the Stories of the Palomar and the Yerkes Telescopes and George Ellery Hales obsession with building larger and better Telescopes in order to push forward Mankind's Knowledge of the Universe in a clear manner. As with all PBS Home Video's it's good value for money and a valuable addition to a home or school collection"