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Fun Things to Do At Lick Observatory This Summer

Fun Things to Do At Lick Observatory This Summer

Enjoy a fantastic time gazing upon the stars and learning about the wonders of space at the standout Lick Observatory. Team


2 min read

June 03, 2024

Perched atop Mount Hamilton, the Lick Observatory offers an exceptional destination for those intrigued by the cosmos. This historic observatory, located just outside San Jose, was founded in 1888 and provides an immersive experience into the world of astronomy and astrophysics, making it a must-visit location in California.

The observatory is open to the public on weekends, specifically from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It's worth noting that the observatory is closed Monday through Friday, so plan your visit accordingly. It should fit into most schedules, however. During these visiting hours, guests can enjoy in free talks inside the dome of the 36-inch Great Refractor, held hourly from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lick Observatory is not only a public attraction but also a vital research facility. It houses several significant telescopes used by researchers from the University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The array of telescopes includes:

  • Shane 3-m Telescope: One of the most productive telescopes in the world for acquiring astronomical data.
  • Automated Planet Finder 2.4-m Telescope: Specially designed for discovering exoplanets.
  • Nickel 1-m Telescope: Used for a variety of imaging and photometric studies.
  • Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope: An automated telescope dedicated to supernova discovery and other transient events.
  • Coudé Auxiliary Telescope: Used in conjunction with the Shane Telescope for high-resolution spectroscopy.
The view from atop Mount Hamilton is remarkable and offers clear sights at the stars.

Evenings with the Stars

Lick Observatory hosts the "Evenings with the Stars" program as part of its Summer Series. This annual event is a highlight for many visitors, offering a unique combination of education and stargazing. Attendees can expect:

  • Astronomy Talks by Renowned Scientists: Gain insights from leading astronomers about the latest discoveries and ongoing research.
  • Viewing Through Historic Telescopes: Experience the cosmos through the 36-inch Great Lick Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Reflector telescopes.
  • History Talks: Learn about the rich history of Lick Observatory and its contributions to astronomy.
  • Astronomy Discussions: Engage with amateur astronomers and observe the night sky through smaller telescopes.

The dates for the Evening with the Stars events in 2024 are as follows:

  • June 14th, 8:30pm
  • June 15th, 8:30pm
  • June 28th, 8:30pm
  • July 12th, 8:30pm
  • July 26th, 8:30pm
  • August 9th, 8:00pm
  • August 23rd, 8:00pm
  • August 24th, 8:00pm
The telescopes at Lick Observatory are a sight to behold.

Music of the Spheres

For those who appreciate a blend of music and astronomy, the "Music of the Spheres" event is a perfect fit. This annual gathering merges the talents of world-renowned musicians and astronomers for an unforgettable evening. The event includes:

  • Concert: Enjoy live performances from acclaimed musicians.
  • Astronomy Talks: Learn from leading scientists about the wonders of the universe.
  • Telescope Viewing: Observe celestial objects through the historic 36-inch Great Lick Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Reflector telescopes.
  • Interactive Astronomy Discussions: Share the night sky with amateur astronomers through smaller telescopes.

Event Pricing and Dates

The pricing for the "Music of the Spheres" event varies to accommodate different preferences:

  • General Admission: $60
  • Preferred Admission: $99
  • Preferred Plus Admission: $129

The event is scheduled on the following dates:

  • June 29th at 8:30 p.m.
  • July 13th at 8:30 p.m.
  • July 27th at 8:30 p.m.
  • August 10th at 8:00 p.m.

Lick Observatory offers a remarkable experience for anyone interested in astronomy and the history of space observation. Whether you're attending a daytime visit or an evening event, the observatory provides a unique opportunity to explore the universe from one of the most renowned research facilities in the world. Plan your visit to the Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton and immerse yourself in the wonders of the cosmos.

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