Exactly 25  miles long, that is. That is how far the summit of Mt Hamilton is from Downtown San Jose. But what makes this 25 miles really long is the change in elevation – from 85ft above sea level to 4209 ft above sea level.

mt-hamilton-route

I made this ‘long‘ trip couple of weeks ago. Sort of  funny, because Mt Hamilton and the domes on top are part of the horizon in my view every day for the last 10 years! So near, but so far! Here are some pictures from that drive.

The 4000+ ft change in elevation means there is no shortage of twists and turns and curves. The moment you go past one blind curve, you will face the next! Be ready for motion sickness!

Curves and Turns!

Curves and Turns!

James Lick Observatory is located atop Mt Hamilton. This was the first mountaintop observatory ever built, around the end of 19th century.

An old picture of the observatory

An old picture of the observatory

When it was built, it had the world largest Refracting telescope (36″ inches) . This telescope  is still functioning, and being made good use of.

The 36 inch refractor

The 36 inch refractor

Now there are few more telescopes atop Mt Hamilton; A 120 inch reflector, a 36 inch reflector and a 100 inch Automatic Planet Finder -to name a few. These are a short walk away from the original observatory, but public access to these domes is limited.

Newer Domes

Newer Domes

Mt Hamilton being one of the highest peaks around the south bay, there is an uninterrupted view in all directions.

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The picture on the top of my blog page  with  a view of the Moon rising behind the observatory in Mt Hamilton is taken from – “Astronomy Picture of  the Day” ; courtesy NASA.

More information about Lick Observatory can be found here.

-neelanjana