The Ricard Memorial Observatory was completed in 1928 to be used for research by Jerome Sixtus Ricard, S.J., a meteorologist known as Santa Clara’s “Padre of the Rains.” He studied flares on the surface of the sun—and he aspired to have the king of reflector telescopes. A smooth character from Vancouver promised to provide a 60-inch lens. He sent something else entirely.
PADRE OF THE RAINS Fr. Ricard began making long-range weather predictions in 1907, based on his observations of solar flares. The sunspot theory proved a scientific dead end, but Fr. Ricard used to field calls from sports promoters and Hollywood moviemakers looking for the inside scoop on weather. He died in 1930.