An article in today's Boston Globe discusses how the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire is offering "premium" content on its website. If you're unfamiliar with the facility, it's not an astronomical observatory, but a meteorological observatory, home to some of the world's harshest conditions. Hurricane-force winds and deathly cold are the norm there during winter — and spring, and fall, and sometimes summer too.

The observatory's website has many interesting features, including current conditions (it's 8°F with 70 mph winds as I write this), webcams, and visitor information. But for as little as $30 per year, you can become a member of the observatory, and gain access to extra webcam views including sunrise and sunset movies, as well as weekly video updates.

The article made me wonder if stressed-for-funds astronomical observatories might play the same game to boost their coffers. What kind of online access would you pay for?


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