Lick Observatory Public Evening Tour


Lick Observatory is introducing a new format this season, a Public Evening Tour, which will enable more people to experience spectacular night time views and sights of the observatory and its impressive line-up of telescopes, located at the summit of Mount Hamilton at 4,200 ft, 20 miles east of San Jose.

Due to the growing demand over the past years for telescope viewings at night for the general public, Lick Observatory has planned a monthly expert-guided tour of the observatory, taking a group of up to 40 visitors on a tour of many of the domes and telescopes on Mount Hamilton. The "behind the scenes" style walking tour of Lick Observatory will start at the main building's Visitor Center at 5:30 pm. An astronomer based on Mount Hamilton will be the main guide of the evening. Participants can learn about the unique history of the world’s first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory, the eccentric California pioneer James Lick, the technology used for observing on different telescopes along the tour route, and current science being conducted at Lick Observatory. A highlight of the tour will be visiting the Shane 3-m dome to see the mountain’s largest telescope up close. After the walking tour there will be an opportunity to enjoy the sunset and the Gift Shop will be open. During twilight a history lecture about James Lick and the construction of the observatory will be presented. Once the sky is dark (and weather permitting), viewing celestial objects through the 36-inch historic Great Refractor will commence. Complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are included with the tour. The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. For safety reasons and due to late hours, children under the age of 8 cannot participate, ages 12 years and up is recommended for this event. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs.

Public Evening Tours scheduled for 2017:

Sunday, April 23rd, 6:00 pm
Thursday, May 25th, 6:00 pm
Sunday, June 25th, 6:30 pm
Thursday July 20th, 6:30pm
Sunday, August 6th, 6:30pm
Monday, August 14th, 6:30pm
Sunday, September 10th, 6:00pm
Thursday, September 21st, 5:30pm

Founded in 1888, Lick Observatory is at the forefront of astronomical research as an active research facility. It is operated by the University of California Observatories (UCO), a multi-campus research unit that serves eight UC campuses and is headquartered at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lick Observatory
Location details: 

Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range east of San Jose. Driving time from San Jose is about one hour via Quimby Road (lower Mount Hamilton Road CA-130 is currently closed due to a washout).

Admission Required
Admission details: 

Tickets are $ 75.00 per person and will go on sale online on August 23rd, 2017 at

Event dates: 
09/21/2017 - 5:30pm