Visiting Lick Observatory

Historical Archive

A Brief Account of the Lick Observatory



The instrumental equipment of the Observatory is of the highest excellence, and it is practically complete with one exception. From the beginning it was contemplated to supplement the great refracting telescope by a large reflector. This part of the original plan has not yet been carried out, but our experience has demonstrated the need of such an instrument, and it is very important that this addition should be made. When it is made, two great telescopes -- a refractor and a reflector -- will still give to the Observatory the most powerful instrumental equipment in the world.

From 1888 to 1893 the 36-inch refractor of the Lick Observatory was the largest in the world. In the present year a 40-inch telescope has been completed for the University of Chicago.


It is quite impossible in the present place, to speak of the scientific work of the Observatory in any detailed way.

Ten new comets, a great number of double stars, and a new satellite to Jupiter have been discovered here. The photographs of solar eclipses and the results drawn from them by our astronomers have put a new face on the question of the constitution of the solar corona. The detailed study of the sun's surface, by photography, has lately been taken up.

Photographic and visual observations of Comets, the Milky Way, the Moon and Planets have added very greatly to our knowledge. Our spectroscopic observations of Nebulae, Stars and Comets are of hitherto unattained accuracy and have led to quite new views. For the first time the angular diameter of a fixed star has been measured here. For details regarding these discoveries and observations reference must be made to the publications of the astronomers in the scientific journals, and especially to the "Notices from the Lick Observatory" printed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Owing to the comparatively small income of the Observatory it has not been possible to undertake researches in all branches

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Historical Archive