LICK OBSERVATORY, a treasured icon that overlooks San Jose from the summit of 4200' Mount Hamilton, could be going dark. Its lofty telescopes that scan the skies are falling victim to UC budget cuts. In 1888 the observatory was in its glory, the first permanent mountaintop observatory in the world, and for years the enormous main telescope was the largest ever built. But unfortunately, time and technology (in the form of satellites, new optics, image enhancements, etc.) developed in the Silicon Valley below, are making it obsolete.
Over the years we've enjoyed driving or biking to the mountain summit, exploring the mountaintop and visiting the facility, and always enjoying the valley scene below. Lick's live webcam published on the internet still provides a great view to check the daily local weather and the cloud cover.
The news reports, “Telescopes and instruments are growing ever more expensive, and many of the traditional sources of funds for supporting astronomy, the state and federal governments, are facing growing claims on their resources. Lick’s telescopes lack the huge mirrors of newer telescopes, which see fainter and far more distant objects in space."
Should Lick Observatory go dark, I'll really miss it!