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Road Trip March 2009

Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton, CA

On a Sunday in March 2009, we went on a very short trip to our neighboring county Santa Clara. The destination was Lick Observatory, the world's oldest mountain top telescope.
There is only one way to get there, the twisty and windy highway 130 that even made an old sailor like Volker carsick.

The observatory is located on top of the Diablo Mountain Range. Since it takes almost three hours to get from highway 5 to the observatory, but only one hour to get from Lick to highway 880 on the western side of the mountain range, we made it a round trip.

And now, join us on our trip:

First, our trip took us through an almost uninhabited part of the Diablo Mountain Range,
where we saw a couple of buzzards, a lot of elk and a painted rock.
By the way: Diablo Range is an error in translation. The spiritual world of the local Miwok, Yokut, Wintun, and Maidu people revolved around earth spirits and sky spirits. Spanish missionaries translated those as angels and devils and thus, the Earth Spirit Mountains
became the "Devil's Range".
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After reaching the top, the first place we visited was the The C. Donald Shane
Telescope. It is one of the newest telescopes at the observatory.
Its 120 inch reflector makes it the second largest telescope in California.
(The largest one is the Hale Telescope near San Diego.)

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After visiting the modern Shane refractor, we took a tour of one of America's oldest
telescopes. Lick Observatory was constructed between 1876 and 1887 and became
the world's first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory. It is named after
James Lick, carpenter, piano builder, hobby astronomer and - at the time of his death -
the wealthiest man in California.

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There is still a lot more to see. Another telescope, the history of Mount Hamilton,
and a really great picture gallery, to name a few.

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Thank you for taking the ride with us!

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