2024 Summer Series Public Events have been scheduled! Tickets go on sale on Wednesday April 17th at Noon!
Event Information

Tonight’s Host: Dr. Elinor Gates

7:30 pm Doors Open Brief Telescope Visits
8:30 pm Science Talk, Lecture Hall History Talk, Great Refractor Dome
9:30 pm Science Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
10:30 pm History Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
1:00 am  Doors Close

This Evening’s Lectures


Science Lecture

(presented twice)

Garth Illingworth and the JWST
Dr. Garth Illingworth
Dr. Garth Illingworth

University of California, Santa Cruz

“The Webb Telescope Comes to Life”

Dr. Garth Illingworth was the leader of the early work, 1987-1992, on the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) that is now known as the James Webb Space Telescope. While Deputy-Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, he was one of original initiators, with Peter Stockman and Pierre Bely, of a large 8-m class passively-cooled IR space telescope. He chaired the UV-Optical in Space Panel of the 1990 Decadal Survey that recommended a 6-m passively-cooled large space telescope that ultimately became the JWST. He shepherded the project through many aspects of its long development and when he finally celebrated Webb’s launch on December 25th, 2021, he was the last original architect still involved.

Garth began his illustrious career exploring for the earliest galaxies in the first 1- 2 billion years of the Universe, first on globular clusters and nearby ellipticals, but with the advent of the powerful instruments on Hubble, he transitioned to working on distant galaxies. This search for the earliest galaxies over the last 15-20 years has been enabled by the world’s most powerful telescopes, the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the Keck telescope on Mauna Kea.

Garth is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley and in 2010 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the University of Western Australia. He is the recipient of the 2016 American Astronomical Society Lancelot M. Berkeley New York Community Trust Prize for his work on the most-distant galaxies viewed with Hubble, and was a plenary speaker for this award at the 2017 meeting of the American Astronomical Society. He was the 2018 Bahcall Lecturer, giving a series of invited talks at the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He is a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society.

History Lecture

(1st presentation)

Ron Bricmont
Ron Bricmont

Ron Bricmont has been an observatory guide since 1991 and a coordinator of the Observatory’s volunteer program since its inception in 1997. He is a member of the staff of the Lick Observatory Historical Collections Project. Ron’s life-long interest in Lick Observatory and its history began with his first visit to the observatory as a six-year-old in 1945.

History Lecture

(2nd presentation)

Eric Bricmont
Eric Bricmont

Eric Bricmont is a long-time volunteer at Lick Observatory, amateur astronomer and photographer. His devotion and passion for science is equaled only by his love of history. In addition to his time at the Observatory he also is an active volunteer with the Santa Clara County Parks, helping to provide monthly astronomy programs to the public.

Tonight’s Telescopes & Objects

36-inch Lick Refractor. Photo (c) Laurie Hatch.

Lick Observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor saw “first light” in 1888. At the time, it was the largest refracting telescope in the world. It is an enduring memorial to James Lick’s philanthropy and his final resting place.

For nearly 300 years after Galileo first turned a telescope toward the heavens it was believed that the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, had just four moons. In 1892, using the Lick’s 36-inch Great Refractor, Edward Barnard discovered a fifth moon, the much fainter Amalthea, the last moon of any planet to be discovered without the aid of photography, electronic detectors or space-based telescopes.

The 36-inch telescope will show you an interesting astronomical object of the telescope operator’s choosing. This may be a globular cluster of stars, a binary star, or a galaxy.

Nickel 1-m Telescope. Photo (c) Laurie Hatch.

The Nickel 40-inch Reflector, named for philanthropist Anna Nickel, was designed and built in the Lick Observatory Technical Facilities at UC Santa Cruz and completed in 1979. The 40” diameter mirror of this modern telescope makes it the third most powerful telescope on Mount Hamilton.

Tonight you will view M17, the Swan Nebula in the constellation Sagittarius.

Telescope Operators:

36-inch Great Refractor

Bob Havner | Keith Wandry 

40-inch Reflector

Andy Macica

40-inch Control Room

Kieren Emens

Telescopes will be available for viewing, weather conditions permitting, as soon as it is dark enough and will remain open until everyone has had an opportunity to see through both telescopes.

Share tonight’s experience on Social Media: #LickObservatory @LickObservatory

Additional Viewing Opportunities – Weather Permitting

Amateur astronomers have telescopes set up behind the main building. They will enjoy showing you other objects in the sky.

The Gift Shop is open tonight from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm.


Snacks and beverages are available at the refreshment table in the main foyer. All proceeds help support the public programs. In the past, we have used proceeds to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), additional wooden benches in the main building, new speakers and amplifiers for the main building hallway, and partial funding of two spotting telescopes by the flag pole.

Dark Adjustment

Your experience at the telescopes will be better if your eyes have had an opportunity to adjust to the dark. For this reason, we try to keep the light levels low in both wings of the main hall.


Please refrain from use of flash photography or white light flashlights in the domes or adjoining hallway.


We strive to make your visit as complete and meaningful as possible. Please let us know if you will need special assistance (for example, if you will have difficulty climbing stairs) by emailing tickets@ucolick.org, so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Our Volunteers

All of Lick Observatory’s public programs are greatly enhanced by the valuable participation of our many dedicated volunteers.

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