Instruments on Mt. Hamilton
Here is a list of many instruments which have had sites on Mt. Hamilton.
Burnham's 6-inch refracting telescope
In 1879 August-October S. W. Burnham brought his personal
telescope to Mt. Hamilton to determine the quality of seeing.
He observed numerous double stars.
The site was presumably somewhere on Observatory Peak, but
this was before it was leveled.
[PLO I, 13 (1887)]
D. E. Osterbrock reports that this telescope remained in
Chicago during the 1880s interval that Burnham worked at Lick
and that it ended up at the University of Wisconsin.
4-inch Fauth Transit and Zenith Telescope
This was first mounted in the Transit House in 1881.
The objective was 4.1 inches in diameter.
Holden specified that this instrument
represented the position of Lick Observatory.
[PLO I, 68 (1887)]
Early annual reports indicate that it was in use for the Mt.
Hamilton timeservice in the early 1890s even though its
declination scales were damaged. When the new Photographic
Laboratory and Plate Archive was built (1907-1909) it would
have severely obstructed the view of the Fauth Transit.
When Lick participated in la Premiere Operation Internationale
des Longitudes in 1926 a new transit was installed for that purpose.
Klemola found evidence to suggest that it was sent to
UC Berkeley campus by the 1940s and used for classroom
Altogether this evidence suggests that the Fauth Transit had
fallen into disuse by or shortly after the turn of the century.
The Meridian Circle had presumably assumed its timeservice tasks.
Used to observe the transit of Mercury in 1881.
[PLO I, 44 & 67 (1887)]
``About 50 years ago it was mounted at the 36-inch
Crossley reflector as its finder telescope, where it is still
Installed in 1881 and used to observe the transit of Mercury
that same year. Because it was located due south of the Fauth
Transit its heliostat was used as a collimator.
[PLO I, 67 (1887)]
Also used to photograph the 1882 transit of Venus.
[PLO I, 50 (1887)]
Its site was obliterated by the new Photographic Laboratory
and Plate Archive building constructed in 1907-1909.
The objective was originally used in
Henry Draper's observatory, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY until 1879.
[PLO I, 62 (1887)]
It was mounted in the small dome in 1881 October, and
Burnham used it to make observations of double stars starting in
[PLO I, 45 (1887)]
It was removed from the small dome in 1979 and replaced by
the Anna Nickel 40-inch reflector.
[J. Osborne, Sky & Telescope 60, 97 (1980)]
6.5-inch Clark Repsold Meridian Circle
This instrument was mounted in the Meridian Circle House
in 1884. Some references give its objective as 6.4 inches.
There were two other identical objectives intended for use
as its north and south collimators.
[PLO I, 38 & 68 (1887)]
Beginning in 1893 Tucker devoted most of his professional career to
observations with the Meridian Circle eventually
producing a history of observations spanning over
[Tucker, PLO IV (1900)]
[PLO XV, 13 (1925)]
From approximately 1900 onwards it appears that the Meridian
Circle had become the standard location for the published
latitude of Lick Obsevatory, displacing the Fauth from that honor.
One of the final uses of the instrument appears to have been
during the campaign to determine the parallax of Eros
during its 1931 flyby.
During the first and second International Campaigns of Longitude
in 1926 and 1933 the Merdian Circle also served as the
standard location for the longitude of Lick Observatory.
[BIH, 2aOIL 7, 673 (1941)]
Klemola wrote that it was dismantled about 1956 just before
the Meridian Circle House was demolished to make way for the
new northeast wing of the Main Building. It was then loaned
to La Plata Observing Station in Rio Gallegos of southern
Patagonia where it was mounted about 1960 and used for a few
6.5-inch Clark refractor
Three identical objectives were ordered for the Meridian
Circle; the extra ones were to serve as the north and south
collimators. The north collimator was installed permanently
in its mount, but the south collimator could be removed and
fitted onto a portable equatorial telescope.
[PLO I, 65 (1887)]
Early in the history of Lick this equatorial telescope had
a dome of its own where it was situated when not on expeditions.
[HBLO 44-46 (1888)]
This dome was on Observatory Peak south of the Meridian Circle House.
36-inch Lick refractor
Little need be said here about this instrument.
It was the instrument that James Lick's trust was
created to build. It became operational in 1888.
In 1888 C.H. Sinclair of the USC&GS operated a station with two transits.
One was for latitude and one was for longitude.
This was in an attempt to
determine the astronomical position of Mt. Hamilton.
[USC&GS Bull. 13 (1899)]
[Schott, USC&GS Special Pub. 4, 833 & 836 (1900)]
[S. Beall?, USC&GS Special Pub. 110, 145 (1925)]
6.5-inch Brashear cometseeker
The only reference for this instrument is a letter of inquiry
from Marie Lukac of USNO which asks about the status of the
Note that Brashear was involved in the
optics for several early Lick instruments including the
refiguring of the Willard lens of the Crocker telescope.
Nonetheless, this does not match the aperture of any of
the lenses used to photograph Comet Halley in 1910.
This telescope was constructed using the 6-inch Willard lens
originally in use by a commercial photographer in San
The Willard lens was refigured by Brashear.
[PASP 2, 128 (1890)]
Starting with observations in 1892
the photographic results of this instrument
fill the entire content of one volume.
[E.E. Barnard, PLO XI (1913)]
During the 1910 apparation of Comet Halley many different
small lenses were used -- first at the Crocker telescope
and later upon the Crossley.
[Curtis, PASP 22, 117 (1910)]
[N. Bobrovnikoff, PLO 17 (1931)]
18-inch Schaeberle reflector
Schaeberle was a member of the Observatory staff from 18??
and acting Director 1897-1898.
This telescope was his personal property. He presumably took
it with him when he left the mountain in 1898 after Keeler
replaced him as Director.
36-inch Crossley reflector
The history of the Crossley family and this instrument before
it came to Mt. Hamilton is documented in various sources.
[PASP 7, 197 (1895)]
[Southern Stars 24, 358 (1992)]
[Southern Stars 24, 367 (1992)]
It became operational on Mt. Hamilton in 1896 June.
[Ap. J. 11, 325 (1900)]
[PASP 12, 146 (1900)]
[PLO VIII, 11 (1908)]
[R.P. Stone, S&T 58, 307 & 396 (1979 Oct & Nov)]
[or was this a spectroscope?]
This transit was installed for the sole purpose of participation
in the first and second international campaigns of longitude in
1926 and 1933. It was located just east of the Meridian Circle
and the final measurement is corrected to that location.
[BIH, 2aOIL 7, 673 (1941)]
A hutch which matches that of similar instruments from other sites
is probably visible in an aerial photograph from 1934.
[PASP 47, 89 (1935)]
[Pub USNO XII, 532]
20-inch Carnegie Double Astrograph
Located in the Astrograph Dome and in operation since 1941.
It has been used to perform the Lick Northern Proper Motion
Survey. Until 1964 only the ``blue'' objective was in place;
at that time the astrograph became ``double'' with the
addition of the ``yellow'' objective.
[PASP 76, 14]
22-inch Tauchmann reflector
Tauchmann described his construction of this ``amateur'' telescope
during the 1930s.
[G.F. Tauchmann, PASP 48, 155 (1936)]
This instrument sits atop the new water tank on Huyghens Peak.
[G.E. Kron, PASP 72, 505 (1960)]
``It is still in use for non-research visitor/general public
observing. It was put in service about 1955.''
The plans for this telescope are dated 1950, and it is depicted
in a painting which has hung in the Lick Diner throughout
the 1980s and 1990s.
120-inch Shane reflector
The mirror blank was a leftover from the test casting for
the 200-inch Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain. It was
brought to Mt. Hamilton and figured in situ. The telescope
became operational in 1959.
Shane Coude Auxiliary Telescope
The CAT consists of a flat ceolostat below the south end of
the Shane Coude room. It sends light up into the Shane dome
where a series of relay optics, including a 1/5 scale model of
the Shane, focus the light onto the Coude slit.
This position of this telescope appears in the 1984
Astronomical Almanac, and if not for that it would be
unremarkable. It was a portable telescope brought to Mt.
Hamilton by David W. Dunham to observe an occultation one
night. The occultation summary sheet contains the position of
the telescope as read from the USGS 7.5 minute topo for Lick
Observatory. This summary sheet was sent to HMNAO, and later
forwarded to USNO whence it entered into the almanac.
24-inch Photometric Telescope
This telescope appears to have been built between 1955 and
1961. It was a Boller and Chivens.
In early 1995 it was dismantled and replaced by the KAIT.
8-inch f/1 Schmidt Camera
During the 1960s this instrument was loaned from Zwicky at
Caltech as part of a supernova patrol.
Anna Nickel 40-inch Reflecting Telescope
This telescope was built entirely in the Lick shops in
Santa Cruz. In 1979 it replaced the 12 inch refractor in the
Small Dome of the Main Building.
[J. Osborne, Sky & Telescope 60, 97 (1980)]
This is reported to be a donated amateur instrument for
which a concrete pad, pier, and wooden clamshell housing
were built just southwest of the Shane Dome. Its mounting
was used for the CCD Comet Camera.
CCD Comet Camera
This camera was originally in use during the 1985/86 apparition
of Comet P/Halley. It consisted of a 135mm Nikon camera lens
mounted ahead of a mechanical shutter on the front of a Lick
CCD dewar, giving a roughly 6x4-degree field of view
(40-arcsec pixels). Filters were mounted in the front of the
lens. Its purpose was to search for transient large-scale
features in the comet's tail and provide instantaneous
+/-10-arcsec astrometry to be used to acquire the features
with the Shane telescope for spectroscopy. It was originally
mounted on the side of the 40-inch Anna Nickel Telescope, but
later moved to an equatorial mounting from a 12.5-inch amateur
telescope located on a Concrete Pad SW of the Shane Dome and
housed in a wooden clamshell enclosure (which came to be known
as the "Outhouse"). CCD readout was accomplished by running
coaxial cables into the Shane dome where computers reduced the
images and performed astrometric calibrations. The camera
project was conceived by George Herbig and Burton Jones, and
operated by Richard Pogge.
The camera was reassembled in 1996 for the passage of Comet Hyakutake.
This is the Katzman Automated Imaging Telescope. It replaced
the 24-inch photometric telescope in early 1995. It is a
fully automated telescope which can be controlled via the
internet. It will be used for a wide range of visual imaging
projects including automated supernova searches.
Steve Allen <email@example.com>