Observing the Heavens at Lick Observatory

The Lick Observatory is an astronomical observatory, owned and operated by the University of California. It is situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, in the Diablo Range just east of San Jose, California, USA. The observatory is managed from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where its scientific staff moved in the mid-1960s. (source: Wikipedia)

Every year, the Lick Observatory presents a summer concert series on Saturday nights to benefit the Lick Observatory Visitors Programs. Tickets are hard to come by, and the shows sell out soon after they go on sale. However, this year, I managed to purchase a couple of tickets, and last night, Brandi and I had the opportunity to spend the evening at the Lick Observatory.

The evening began pleasantly with an observation of solar prominences, shortly followed by an hour long string quartet concert. We then got to observe Messier 17, an emission nebula located approximately 6,000 light years away from us, through the Great 36" Lick refractor (the 2nd largest in the world!) After that, the renowned Geoff Marcy gave a lecture on “Searching for Earth-like Planets” [outside our solar system] Finally, we looked at a few deep sky objects, as well as Jupiter, through amateur telescopes stationed on the parking lot. Below are some photos of this wonderful event. Cheers!

Sunset at the Lick Observatory

Looking back at the bay from Mount Hamilton

A high quality, amateur-owned refractor outfitted with a special solar filter

The Great 36

String quartet concert

Looking back at San Jose

One thought on “Observing the Heavens at Lick Observatory

  1. Darren James

    Hey Julien,

    I’ve been to the Lick Observatory 3 or 4 times now, but never had the opportunity to do the concert series and look through the telescope. Seriously green with envy…

    - darren.

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