Lick Observatory's James Lick telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
|Named after|| James Lick |
|Organization|| University of California |
|Observatory code|| 662 |
|Location||near San Jose, California|
|Altitude||1,283 m (4,209 ft) |
|Telescopes|| Anna L. Nickel telescope |
Automated Planet Finder
C. Donald Shane telescope
Coudé Auxiliary Telescope
James Lick telescope
Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope
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, US. The observatory is managed by the University of California Observatories, with headquarters on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, where its scientific staff moved in the mid-1960s. It is named after James Lick.
An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geophysical, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed. Historically, observatories were as simple as containing an astronomical sextant or Stonehenge.
The University of California (UC) is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-system public higher education plan, which also includes the California State University system and the California Community Colleges System.
Mount Hamilton is a mountain in California's Diablo Range, in Santa Clara County, California. Mount Hamilton, at 4,265 feet (1,300 m) is a mountain overlooking Santa Clara Valley and is the site of Lick Observatory, the World's first permanently occupied mountain-topobservatory. The asteroid 452 Hamiltonia, discovered in 1899, is named after the mountain. Golden eagle nesting sites are found on the slopes of Mount Hamilton. On clear days, Mount Tamalpais, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey Bay, the Monterey Peninsula, and even Yosemite National Park are visible from the summit of the mountain.
Lick Observatory is the world's first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory. million in 2014 US dollars). Lick, originally a carpenter and piano maker, chose the site atop Mount Hamilton and was buried there in 1887 under the future site of the telescope, with a brass tablet bearing the inscription, "Here lies the body of James Lick".The observatory, in a Classical Revival style structure, was constructed between 1876 and 1887, from a bequest from James Lick of $700,000 (approximately $22
James Lick was an American real estate investor, carpenter, piano builder, land baron, and patron of the sciences. At the time of his death, he was the wealthiest man in California, and left the majority of his estate to social and scientific causes.
Lick additionally requested that Santa Clara County construct a "first-class road" to the summit, completed in 1876.Lick chose John Wright, of San Francisco's Wright & Sanders firm of architects, to design both the Observatory and the Astronomer's House. All of the construction materials had to be brought to the site by horse and mule-drawn wagons, which could not negotiate a steep grade. To keep the grade below 6.5%, the road had to take a very winding and sinuous path, which the modern-day road (California State Route 130) still follows. Tradition maintains that this road has exactly 365 turns (This is approximately correct, although uncertainty as to what should count as a turn makes precise verification impossible). The road is closed when there is snow at Lick Observatory.
State Route 130 is a state highway in the U.S. state of California in Santa Clara County. The route runs between San Jose and Patterson, passing Mount Hamilton on the way. Much of its length goes through the Diablo Range as Mount Hamilton Road, where it is a narrow two-lane highway. The remainder of SR 130 is numbered along Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose.
Snow refers to forms of ice crystals that precipitate from the atmosphere and undergo changes on the Earth's surface. It pertains to frozen crystalline water throughout its life cycle, starting when, under suitable conditions, the ice crystals form in the atmosphere, increase to millimeter size, precipitate and accumulate on surfaces, then metamorphose in place, and ultimately melt, slide or sublimate away. Snowstorms organize and develop by feeding on sources of atmospheric moisture and cold air. Snowflakes nucleate around particles in the atmosphere by attracting supercooled water droplets, which freeze in hexagonal-shaped crystals. Snowflakes take on a variety of shapes, basic among these are platelets, needles, columns and rime. As snow accumulates into a snowpack, it may blow into drifts. Over time, accumulated snow metamorphoses, by sintering, sublimation and freeze-thaw. Where the climate is cold enough for year-to-year accumulation, a glacier may form. Otherwise, snow typically melts seasonally, causing runoff into streams and rivers and recharging groundwater.
The first telescope installed at the observatory was a 12-inch (300-millimeter) refractor made by Alvan Clark. Astronomer E. E. Barnard used the telescope to make "exquisite photographs of comets and nebulae", according to D. J. Warner of Warner & Swasey Company.
A refracting telescope is a type of optical telescope that uses a lens as its objective to form an image. The refracting telescope design was originally used in spy glasses and astronomical telescopes but is also used for long focus camera lenses. Although large refracting telescopes were very popular in the second half of the 19th century, for most research purposes the refracting telescope has been superseded by the reflecting telescope which allows larger apertures. A refractor's magnification is calculated by dividing the focal length of the objective lens by that of the eyepiece.
Alvan Clark, born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, the descendant of a Cape Cod whaling family of English ancestry, was an American astronomer and telescope maker. He was a portrait painter and engraver (c.1830s-1850s), and at the age of 40 became involved in telescope making. Using glass blanks made by Chance Brothers of Birmingham and Feil-Mantois of Paris, his firm Alvan Clark & Sons ground lenses for refracting telescopes, including the largest in the world at the time: the 18.5-inch (47 cm) at Dearborn Observatory at the Old University of Chicago, the two 26-inch (66 cm) telescopes at the United States Naval Observatory and McCormick Observatory, the 30-inch (76 cm) at Pulkovo Observatory, the 36-inch (91 cm) telescope at Lick Observatory and later the 40-inch (100 cm) at Yerkes Observatory, which remains the largest successful refracting telescope in the world. One of Clark's sons, Alvan Graham Clark, discovered the dim companion of Sirius. His other son was George Bassett Clark; both sons were partners in the firm.
The Warner & Swasey Company was an American manufacturer of machine tools, instruments, and special machinery. It operated as an independent business firm, based in Cleveland, from its founding in 1880 until its acquisition in 1980. It was founded as a partnership in 1880 by Worcester Reed Warner (1846–1929) and Ambrose Swasey (1846–1937). The company was best known for two general types of products: astronomical telescopes and turret lathes. It also did a large amount of instrument work, such as equipment for astronomical observatories and military instruments The themes that united these various lines of business were the crafts of toolmaking and instrument-making, which have often overlapped technologically. In the decades after World War II, it also entered the heavy equipment industry with its acquisition of the Gradall brand.
The 36-inch (91-centimeter) refracting telescope on Mt. Hamilton was Earth's largest refracting telescope during the period from when it saw first light on January 3, 1888, until the construction of Yerkes Observatory in 1897. Warner & Swasey designed and built the telescope mounting, with the 36-inch (91-centimeter) lens manufactured by one of the Clark sons, Alvan Graham. E. E. Barnard used the telescope in 1892 to discover a fifth moon of Jupiter, Amalthea. This was the first addition to Jupiter's known moons since Galileo observed the planet through his parchment tube and spectacle lens. The telescope provided spectra for W. W. Campbell's work on the radial velocities of stars.
In astronomy, first light is the first use of a telescope to take an astronomical image after it has been constructed. This is often not the first viewing using the telescope; optical tests will probably have been performed in daylight to adjust the components. The first light image is normally of little scientific interest and is of poor quality, since the various telescope elements are yet to be adjusted for optimum efficiency. Despite this, a first light is always a moment of great excitement, both for the people who design and build the telescope and for the astronomical community, who may have anticipated the moment for many years while the telescope was under construction. A well-known and spectacular astronomical object is usually chosen as a subject.
Yerkes Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin operated by the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. It closed public operations in 2018. The observatory, which called itself "the birthplace of modern astrophysics", was founded in 1897 by astronomer George Ellery Hale and financed by businessman Charles T. Yerkes. It represented a shift in the thinking about observatories, from their being mere housing for telescopes and observers, to the early-20th-century concept of observation equipment integrated with laboratory space for physics and chemistry.
Alvan Clark & Sons was an American maker of optics that became famous for crafting lenses for some of the largest refracting telescopes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Founded in 1846 in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, by Alvan Clark, and his sons George Bassett Clark (1827–1891) and Alvan Graham Clark (1832–1897). Five times, the firm built the largest refracting telescopes in the world. The Clark firm gained "worldwide fame and distribution", wrote one author on astronomy in 1899.
In May 1888, the observatory was turned over to the Regents of the University of California, [ citation needed ]and it became the first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory in the world. Edward Singleton Holden was the first director. The location provided excellent viewing performance because of lack of ambient light and pollution; additionally, the night air at the top of Mt. Hamilton is extremely calm, and the mountain peak is normally above the level of the low cloud cover that is often seen in the San Jose area. When low cloud cover is present below the peak, light pollution is cut to almost nothing.
The Regents of the University of California is the governing board of the University of California. The board has 26 voting members.
On May 21, 1939, during a nighttime fog that engulfed the summit, a U.S. Army Air Force Northrop A-17 two-seater attack plane crashed into the main building. Because a scientific meeting was being held elsewhere, the only staff member present was Nicholas Mayall. Nothing caught fire and the two individuals in the building were unharmed. The pilot of the plane, Lt. Richard F. Lorenz, and passenger Private W. E. Scott were killed instantly. The telephone line was broken by the crash, so no help could be called for at first. Eventually help arrived together with numerous reporters and photographers, who kept arriving almost all night long. Evidence of their numbers could be seen the next day by the litter of flash bulbs carpeting the parking lot. The press widely covered the accident and many reports emphasized the luck in not losing a large cabinet of spectrograms which was knocked over by the crash coming through an astronomer's office window. Perhaps more notable was the lack of fire or damage to a telescope dome.
In 1950, the California state legislature appropriated funds for a 120-inch (300-centimeter) reflector telescope, which was completed in 1959. The observatory additionally has a 24-inch (61-centimeter) Cassegrain reflector dedicated to photoelectric measurements of star brightness, and received a pair of 20-inch (51-centimeter) astrographs from the Carnegie Corporation.
In 1886, Lick Observatory begins supplying Railroad Standard Time to the Southern Pacific Railroad, and to other businesses, over telegraph lines. The signal was generated by a clock manufactured by E. Howard & Co. specifically for the Observatory, and which included an electric apparatus for transmitting the time signal over telegraph lines. While most of the nation's railroads received their time signal from the U.S. Naval Observatory time signal via Western Union's telegraph lines, the Lick Observatory Time-Signal was used by railroads from the West coast all the way to Colorado.
With the growth of San Jose, and the rest of Silicon Valley, light pollution became a problem for the observatory. In the 1970s, a site in the Santa Lucia Mountains at Junípero Serra Peak, southeast of Monterey, was evaluated for possible relocation of many of the telescopes. However, funding for the move was not available, and in 1980 San Jose began a program to reduce the effects of lighting, most notably replacing all streetlamps with low pressure sodium lamps. The result is that the Mount Hamilton site remains a viable location for a major working observatory. The International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 6216 San Jose to honor the city's efforts toward reducing light pollution.
In 2006, there were 23 families in residence, plus typically between two and ten visiting astronomers from the University of California campuses, who stay in dormitories while working at the observatory. The little town of Mount Hamilton atop the mountain has its own police and a post office, and until 2005 had a one-room K-8 school.
In 2008, there were 38 people residing on the mountain; the chef and commons dinner were decommissioned.[ citation needed ] By 2013, with continuing budget and staff cuts there remain only about nineteen residents and it is common for the observers to work from remote observing stations rather than make the drive, partly as a result of the business office raising the cost to stay in the dorms.[ citation needed ] The swimming pool has been closed.
In 2013, one of Lick Observatory's key funding sources was scheduled for elimination in 2018, which many worried would result in the closing of the entire observatory.
In November 2014, the University of California announced its intention to continue support of Lick Observatory.
Telescopes at Lick Observatory are used by researchers from multiple campuses of the University of California system. Current topics of research carried out at Lick include exoplanets, supernovae, active galactic nuclei, planetary science, and development of new adaptive optics technologies.
The following astronomical objects were discovered at Lick Observatory:
In addition to observations of natural phenomena, Lick was also the location of the first laser range finding observation of the Apollo 11 reflector, although this was only for confirmation purposes and no ongoing range finding work was performed.
Current [update] equipment and locations:
Lowell Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, United States. Lowell Observatory was established in 1894, placing it among the oldest observatories in the United States, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. In 2011, the Observatory was named one of "The World's 100 Most Important Places" by TIME. It was at the Lowell Observatory that the dwarf planet Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh.
The Apache Point Observatory is an astronomical observatory located in the Sacramento Mountains in Sunspot, New Mexico, United States, approximately 18 miles (29 km) south of Cloudcroft. The observatory is operated by New Mexico State University (NMSU) and owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC). Access to the telescopes and buildings is private and restricted.
Boyden Observatory is an astronomical research observatory and science education centre located in Maselspoort, 20 kilometres (12 mi) north-east of the city of Bloemfontein in Free State, South Africa. The observatory is managed by the Physics Department of the University of the Free State (UFS). The Friends of Boyden assist the observatory as a public support group, organising open evenings and protecting its public interest. Boyden also makes use of members of ASSA Bloemfontein Centre, the amateur astronomy club of the city, for presenters and telescope assistants.
James Edward Keeler was an American astronomer.
HD 74156 is a yellow dwarf star in the constellation of Hydra, 210 light years from the Solar System. It is known to be orbited by two giant planets.
Leuschner Observatory, originally called the Students' Observatory, is an observatory jointly operated by the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. The observatory was built in 1886 on the Berkeley campus. For many years, it was directed by Armin Otto Leuschner, for whom the observatory was renamed in 1951. In 1965, it was relocated to its present home in Lafayette, California, approximately 10 miles (16 km) east of the Berkeley campus. In 2012, the physics and astronomy department of San Francisco State University became a partner.
Mount Laguna Observatory (MLO) is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by San Diego State University (SDSU). The telescope was operated in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) until 2000. MLO is located approximately 75 kilometers (47 mi) east of downtown San Diego, California (USA) on the eastern edge of the Cleveland National Forest in the Laguna Mountains and near the hamlet of Mount Laguna. MLO was dedicated on June 19, 1968, seven years after SDSU's Department of Astronomy became an independent academic department of SDSU's College of Sciences. The dedication took place during the 1968 summer meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
The Warner and Swasey Observatory is the astronomical observatory of Case Western Reserve University. Named after Worcester R. Warner and Ambrose Swasey, who built it at the beginning of the 20th century, it was initially located on Taylor Road in East Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The observatory, which at that time housed a 9.5-inch (24 cm) refractor, was donated in 1919 to the Case School of Applied Science. The newer 24-inch (61 cm) Burrell Schmidt telescope was built in 1939.
The James Lick Telescope is a refracting telescope built in 1888. It has a lens 36 inches (91 cm) in diameter- a major achievement in its day. The instrument remains in operation and public viewing is allowed on a limited basis. Also called the "Great Lick Refractor" or simply "Lick Refractor", it was the largest refracting telescope in the world until 1897 and now ranks third, after the 40-inch unit at the Yerkes Observatory and the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope. The telescope is located at the University of California's Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton at an elevation of 4,209 feet (1,283 m) above sea level. The instrument is housed inside a dome that is powered by hydraulic systems that raise and lower the floor, rotate the dome and drive the clock mechanism to track the Earth's rotation. The original hydraulic arrangement still operates today, with the exception that the original wind-powered pumps that once filled the reservoirs have been replaced with electric pumps. James Lick is entombed below the floor of the observing room of the telescope.
Mount Lemmon Observatory (MLO), also known as the Mount Lemmon Infrared Observatory, is an astronomical observatory located on Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains approximately 28 kilometers (17 mi) northeast of Tucson, Arizona (US). The site in the Coronado National Forest is used with special permission from the U.S. Forest Service by the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory, and contains a number of independently managed telescopes.
The C. Donald Shane telescope is a 120-inch (3.0-meter) reflecting telescope located at the Lick Observatory in San Jose, California. It was named after astronomer C. Donald Shane in 1978, who led the effort to acquire the necessary funds from the California Legislature, and who then oversaw the telescope's construction. It is the largest and most powerful telescope at the Lick Observatory, and was the second-largest telescope in the world when it was commissioned in 1959.
The Anna L. Nickel telescope is a 1-meter reflecting telescope located at Lick Observatory in the U.S. state of California.
The XO Telescope is an astronomical telescope located on the 3,054 m summit of Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii. It consists of two 200-millimeter telephoto camera lenses, and resembles binoculars in shape. It is used by the XO Project to detect extrasolar planets using the transit method. It is similar to the TrES survey telescope. The construction of the one-of-a-kind telescope cost $60,000 for the hardware, and much more than that for the associated software.
The Coudé Auxiliary Telescope (CAT) is a coudé focus telescope located at the Lick Observatory near San Jose, California, south of Shane Dome, Tycho Brahe Peak.
HD 185269 is a stellar triple system approximately 171 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. It is easily visible to binoculars, but not the naked eye.
The Crossley telescope is a 36-inch (910 mm) reflecting telescope located at Lick Observatory in the U.S. state of California.
HD 50554 b is a Jupiter-sized extrasolar planet with minimum mass 4.4 times that of Jupiter. The planet was announced in 2001 by the European Southern Observatory and confirmed in 2002 using observations from the Lick and Keck telescopes.
Great refractor refers to a large telescope with a lens, usually the largest refractor at an observatory with an equatorial mount. The preeminence and success of this style in observational astronomy was an era in telescope use in the 19th and early 20th century. Great refractors were large refracting telescopes using achromatic lenses. They were often the largest in the world, or largest in a region. Despite typical designs having smaller apertures than reflectors, Great refractors offered a number of advantages and were favored for astronomy.
Nicholas Ulrich Mayall was an American observational astronomer. After obtaining his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, Mayall worked at the Lick Observatory, where he remained from 1934 to 1960, except for a brief period at MIT's Radiation Laboratory during World War II.
UCL Observatory at Mill Hill in London is an astronomical teaching observatory. It is part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College London.
Sometime this week the Trustees of the James Lick Estate will convey to the Board of Regents of the State University the Mount Hamilton Observatory.
Lost in thick fog, an army attack plane crashed into Lick Astronomical Observatory of the University of California on Mount Hamilton tonight. Its two occupants were killed. They were Lieut. R. F. Lorenz, 25, of March Field, the pilot, and Private W. E. Scott, a passenger.
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