– By permission of Lick Observatory, the camera is set up inside the dome of the Lick 36” Great Refractor. The slit is open after rain clouds have passed, revealing the moon in partial eclipse. The near total eclipse reached maximum at 1:02 AM PST, about half an hour ago, while the dome was closed. An overnight front is moving through the San Francisco Bay Area and observation is touch-and-go. There is a silver lining (or more accurately, a multi-color lining) to a cloud-covered sky — a classic Lunar Halo, an optical phenomenon similar to a rainbow. Colors in this photo are unenhanced. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/22%C2%B0_halo)
– Although extremely foreshortened in this composition, the Great Refractor is actually 57 feet in length. Illuminated dials show where the telescope is pointed on the sky – Right Ascension, Declination, Hour Angle, and Position Angle. The foreground telescope appears somewhat soft in focus primarily due to an intentional shallow depth of field in camera settings, see exposure notes and data below.
– Thank you to University of California Observatories, Kostas Chloros, and Elinor Gates for granting permission to photograph inside the 36″ dome. Special thanks to my dear friend, photographer, and Telescope Operator Rick Baldridge for his exemplary support and assistance in ensuring favorable results under challenging shooting conditions. This was truly a collaborative effort by several people, and were it not for them this photo and others from this eclipse could not have been made.
– “Even the habitually frivolous become thoughtful when they enter the presence of the great telescope.”
James Edward Keeler, ‘The Engineer’ 1888 July 6
– A VIEW FROM LICK OBSERVATORY
– Lick Observatory crowns the 4,200-foot Mt. Hamilton summit above Silicon Valley in central California. This research station serves astronomers from University of California campuses and their collaborators worldwide. Eccentric Bay Area tycoon and philanthropist James Lick (1796-1876) bequeathed funding for construction which spanned from 1880 to 1887, fulfilling his vision of the Observatory as a premier astronomical facility. In 1959, the Shane 3-meter reflecting telescope was completed on Mt. Hamilton. It continues to provide data for forefront research and engineering programs. In total, the mountain top is home to ten telescopes which are supported by resident staff and by headquarters at UC Santa Cruz. Acclaimed for academic excellence, technical expertise, and superior instrumentation, Lick Observatory probes the expanding frontiers of space.
– Although Lick Observatory is not open to the general public at night, special visitor programs, student tours, and other evening events are frequently hosted by prior arrangement. After a devastating fire in August 2020 which suspended public access, the Observatory is currently hosting visitors on weekends. Please call for dates.