Transit of Venus 2012 Viewing Event


Ticket Information

This event is SOLD OUT.

For more information, call 408-274-5061

Directions to Mt. Hamilton

Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range east of San Jose. To get there from Hwys 101, 280, or 680, take the Alum Rock Avenue exit from Interstate 680. Go east onto Alum Rock Avenue. Turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Road (California Route 130). Allow about one hour from San Jose, and please drive carefully as the road is good, but winding.

From the east, take Interstate 580 west to Interstate 680 south. Then follow the directions above.

Alternatively, you may take take California Route 130 to Mt. Hamilton from the east, but please allow about 1-3/4 hours from Interstate 5 to reach the Observatory. The road is long and winding, but well-maintained. Take the Diablo Grande Parkway exit off Interstate 5, heading west (away from Patterson). Take the first right on Puerto del Canyon Road (toward Frank Raines Park). Look carefully for this turn because there is not much signage. At the Junction Cafe, turn left to stay on California Route 130.

Keep in mind that at 4209 feet, evenings on Mt. Hamilton can be cool, so bring a sweater or coat. We provide wheelchair access to the lectures and to the 36-inch telescope, but not to the Nickel telescope. There is no gas station at the Observatory. Parking is limited so please car pool, if possible.

Area map here courtesy of Mapquest

Print-friendly area map (pdf)

Local map here

Print-friendly local map (pdf)

For more details, call 408-274-5061, between 12:30 and 5:00 pm, or email



UCO home > Public Information > Transit of Venus 2012

Transits of Venus

Transits of Venus, the apparent movement of Venus across the face of the sun, occur only twice per century. The last transit was in 2004. After the June 2012 transit, the next transits will not occur until 2117 and 2125. Join us on June 5, 2012 from 2:00 - 8:30 pm at Lick Observatory to witness the last Transit of Venus this century

Lick Photographic Plate of 1882 Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus 1882, Lick Observatory Photo Plate, Click to Enlarge

Program Highlights

Lick Observatory Photo House

The Lick photoheliograph was used to image the 1882 transit of Venus. The little rectangular building with the shallow vaulted roof is its photo house. The horizontal pipe directed the sun's light beam from the heliostat to the photo house for imaging. Click to Enlarge image.