Lick Observatory

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Lick Observatory,

astronomical observatoryobservatory,
scientific facility especially equipped to detect and record naturally occurring scientific phenomena. Although geological and meteorological observatories exist, the term is generally applied to astronomical observatories.
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 located on Mt. Hamilton, Calif., near San Jose; the first mountaintop observatory in the world, it was founded through gifts made by James Lick in 1874–75 and came under the direction of the Univ. of California in 1888; it is now run by the Univ. of California Observatories. The original telescopes at the observatory were a 12-in. (30.4-cm) refracting telescope (1881, since decommissioned) and a 36-in. (91.4-cm) refracting telescope (1888), second largest in the world after the 40-in. (101.6-cm) refractor at Yerkes ObservatoryYerkes Observatory,
astronomical observatory located in Williams Bay, Wis., on the shore of Lake Geneva. It was founded in 1892 with funds provided by Charles T. Yerkes and its first director was George E. Hale. The observatory is administered by the Univ. of Chicago.
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. The principal research instrument now is a 120-in. (3-m) reflecting telescope that went into operation in 1960. Other equipment includes 39.4-in. (1-m) and 36-in. (91.4-cm) reflectors.

Lick Observatory

An observatory on Mount Hamilton, California, at an altitude of 1280 meters. Endowed by James Lick, a 19th-century US financier and philanthropist, it was given to the University of California on the completion in 1888 of its (then) powerful 91-cm refracting telescope. The chief instrument today is the 3-meter Shane Telescope, with a Pyrex mirror having a comparatively large focal ratio of f/5. It was named for the US astronomer C. Donald Shane and became fully operational in 1959. There are also several smaller telescopes.

Lick Observatory


a scientific institution of the University of California (USA). It was constructed using funds bequeathed by the millionaire J. Lick (1796–1876).

The observatory is located atop Mount Hamilton (1,306 m), 46 km east of San Jose. A 30-cm refractor was installed in 1881 and a 91-cm refractor in 1888 (the observatory’s official year of opening). A 91-cm reflector was brought from England in 1895. Other instruments include a 51-cm double astrograph (installed in 1939), a 305-cm reflector (1950), and a 61-cm reflector (1964). Since 1966 the laboratories of the Lick Observatory have been located at Santa Cruz.

The observatory is primarily concerned with the study of the structure and rotation of the Milky Way Galaxy, the physical properties and proper motions of stars, and extragalactic nebulae. It publishes Lick Observatory Publications (since 1887), Lick Observatory Bulletin (since 1901), and Contributions From the Lick Observatory (since 1889).

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