2024 Summer Series Public Events have been scheduled!
Event Information

Tonight’s Host: Dr. Paul Lynam

7:30 pm Doors Open Brief Telescope Visits
8:00 pm Science Talk, Lecture Hall History Talk, Great Refractor Dome
9:00 pm Science Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
10:00 pm History Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
11:30 pm  Doors Close


This Evening’s Lectures


Science Lecture

(presented twice)

Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley professor of astronomy
Dr. Alex Filippenko

University of California, Berkeley

“Frontier Research and Technology at UC’s Lick Observatory”

Alex Filippenko, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers. A recipient of many honors for his scientific research, he was a member of both teams that revealed the Nobel-worthy accelerating expansion of the Universe, driven by mysterious “dark energy”. Voted the “Best Professor” on the UC Berkeley campus a record 9 times, he was also named the 2006 National Professor of the Year. He has appeared in about 100 TV documentaries.

History Lecture

(1st presentation)

Keith Wandry
Keith Wandry

Keith Wandry’s interest in astronomy was born from watching our nation’s efforts and eventual success in landing on the Moon.  In his youth he was given a small refracting telescope and a moon globe from which his interest in astronomy blossomed. Keith has been an amateur astronomer for over 30 years, been involved with public and youth star parties and has a particular interest in comets and meteorites. He has been associated with Lick Observatory in various capacities since 1996.

History Lecture

(2nd presentation)

Rick Baldridge
Rick Baldridge

Rick Baldridge has been an amateur astronomer for over 40 years.  In 1978 he joined the Peninsula Astronomical Society which operates Foothill College Observatory and is currently the club’s Vice President. A member of the International Occultation Timing Association, Rick has discovered 25 double stars and measured the diameter of 8 asteroids.  He recently “discovered” the long-lost Apollo 16 S-IVB booster impact crater on the Moon using publicly available NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images.  Rick has six Astronomy Picture of the Day credits.

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 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 M53, a globular cluster of stars in the constellation Coma Berenices.

Telescope Operators:

36-inch Great Refractor

Keith Wandry | Rick Baldridge | Patrick Maloney

40-inch Reflector

Murali Balasubramaniam

40-inch Control Room

Andy Macica

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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