“Isn’t it mysterious how so many wonderful things in life come to us seemingly without our planning? We start traveling down one street, and we find ourselves interested in something we never expected on a side street; and as we explore it, the side street becomes the main road for us.”
– Fred Rogers
If there were a list of people least likely to become an astronomer, young Milton Humason would have been near the top.
Humason began his astronomical career in a most unusual way – as a mule driver. After dropping out of school in 1905 at the age of 14, he got a job hauling supplies to the top of California’s Mount Wilson, where a new astronomical observatory was being built.
Enthralled by the mountain’s serenity and spectacular views, Humason resolved to stay. After the observatory’s construction was completed, he stayed on as a busboy in the mountaintop dining hall and eventually as a janitor.
Mount Wilson’s 60-inch telescope, the largest in the world at the time, opened its eye on the sky in 1908. Humason was keenly interested in the work of the astronomers and soon volunteered to help ...