Observing images courtesy of Elinor Gates.
You might also want to attend Lick's Music of the Spheres concert series.
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Lick Observatory hosts a Friday Night Program (FNVP), inviting the public to observe through both the 36-inch Great Lick Refractor and Nickel 40-inch Reflecting Telescope. Each evening also features two speakers, who present programs even if clouds or fog prohibit viewing.
Lick astronomers present multimedia lectures on their research or topics of current interest. A "History of Lick Observatory" talk is also presented. Local amateur astronomers outside the buildings provide additional telescopes and informal astronomy discussions.
Program begins with the first talk at sunset. Observing begins when it gets dark and continues until everyone has had the opportunity to view through both telescopes.
Due to safety concerns, children under the age of 10 will not be admitted to FNVP or Music of the Spheres events.
Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range east of San Jose. To get there from Hwys 101, 280, or 680, take the Alum Rock Avenue exit from Interstate 680. Go east onto Alum Rock Avenue. Turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Road (California Route 130). Allow about one hour from San Jose, and please drive carefully as the road is good, but winding.
From the east, take Interstate 580 west to Interstate 680 south. Then follow the directions above.
Alternatively, you may take take California Route 130 to Mt. Hamilton from the east, but please allow about 1-3/4 hours from Interstate 5 to reach the Observatory. The road is long and winding, but well-maintained. Take the Diablo Grande Parkway exit off Interstate 5, heading west (away from Patterson). Take the first right on Puerto del Canyon Road (toward Frank Raines Park). Look carefully for this turn because there is not much signage. At the Junction Cafe, turn left to stay on California Route 130.
Keep in mind that at 4209 feet, evenings on Mt. Hamilton can be cool, so bring a sweater or coat. We provide wheelchair access to the lectures and to the 36-inch telescope, but not to the Nickel telescope. There is no gas station at the Observatory. Parking is limited so please car pool, if possible.