• The view of Lick Observatory in 1902.

Lick Observatory Historical Collections Project

Lick Observatory has been in operation since 1888. Over the years, a wealth of material illustrating the growth of astronomy has accumulated on Mount Hamilton. Much of that legacy has been preserved in the Mary Lea Shane Archive of UC Santa Cruz's Special Collections, but many important artifacts pertaining to the observatory's scientific life remain on the mountain.

The Historical Collections Project began in 2008 to preserve those artifacts and make them accessible. Cataloging the collection of scientific objects is the project's first goal. This includes cataloging the hardware used in all types of observatory work, including complete instruments, separate components, measuring devices, photographic apparata, and so on. Cataloging is ongoing and many items remain to be recorded.

The project is also concerned with other collections related to the scientific objects, including handwritten log books of Lick astronomers and photographic plates mainly comprising spectrograms and direct images from all Lick programs, instruments, and telescopes of the photographic era. A log-book database with nearly 2,000 records was added in 2012. Other parts of these collections will become available as they are cataloged.

View Historical Colletions Project

Collections Information

Tony Misch
lo@tonymisch.net