This was no run down operation, hanging on to faded glory. The rides and buildings were all in good repair, all of the bulbs lit, with fresh paint and empty trash bins. Even on a weekday night there were lines at many rides, screams and cheers echoing through the night air.
Mt. Hamilton and Lick Observatory are located in the middle of the Diablo Range overlooking San Jose and San Francisco. From this high peak the sunsets reveal a beautiful view of the rest of the range when rich light mixes with haze and smog from the city.
The view was pleasing sharp and crisp, revealing decent optics and steady air over the mountain. I could just make out the central star on M57, something I had only done before with and even larger telescope.
The instrument may date to the 1800’s but at that time it was powered by water and muscle as there was no electricity on the mountain. It was not until much later, in the middle of the twentieth century that the telescope was refitted with electrical controls and motors.