Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton

Lick Observatory is about 20 miles of winding mountain road east of San Jose, CA, on top of 4200' Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range. Opened in 1888, it was the first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory in the world. There was originally a 12-inch telescope, and the Great Refractor, then the largest in the world, with 36-inch lenses cast in France and polished in Boston. James Lick, who donated the money in his will, is actually buried under the telescope!

Large telescopes these days are mirror telescopes, with only one large glass piece, and Lick now also houses the Shane 120-inch Reflector.

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

Look back towards San Jose, covered with fog.
The Shane dome housing the big reflector.
The Lick dome. (The 1875 date on the door must refer to the original gift.)
The Crossley dome, housing the 36-inch Crossley Reflector. This has an interesting history, being originally built in England in 1876, the first modern reflecting telescope. It was eventually sold to the Lick and installed here in 1896. It is still operational as a scientific instrument.

Three panoramas from the drive up:

These pictures were taken with a Canon G2 digital camera. Images were cropped, balanced, etc. with Adobe Photoshop Elements.

schooler@alum.mit.edu