Telescope at Lick Observatory

Mt. Hamilton, San Jose, California

While the tour guide talked about the telescope, I took photos from ceiling to floor,
including the tour guide, who was standing where you see me. When the tour was over (and
the room cleared), the guide gave me permission to go out to where she was for the final
photo for this composite image. By the way, that floor rises or lowers around the tower to
help the person reach the telescope.

In 1847, James Lick, about 50 years old, moved from South America (where he prospered in
fine piano making) to San Francisco. He had brought 600 pounds of chocolate from his South
American neighbor, D. Ghirardelli, and started the successful chocolate company (where you
can see some Phoons). When he was around 80 years old, he gave $700,000 toward the
creation of a telescope "more powerful than any yet made" and a "suitable observatory
connected therewith" and selected Mt. Hamilton as its location. It was the first large
mountaintop observatory and set the pattern for others to follow.

Visit the Lick Observatory web site.

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Mar 04, 2003

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