Lick Observatory, astronomical observatory located on Mt. Hamilton, Calif., near San Jose; the first mountaintop observatory in the world, it was founded through gifts made by James Lick in 1874–75 and came under the direction of the Univ. of California in 1888; it is now run by the Univ. of California Observatories. The original telescopes at the observatory were a 12-in. (30.4-cm) refracting telescope (1881, since decommissioned) and a 36-in. (91.4-cm) refracting telescope (1888), second largest in the world after the 40-in. (101.6-cm) refractor at Yerkes Observatory. The principal research instrument now is a 120-in. (3-m) reflecting telescope that went into operation in 1960. Other equipment includes 39.4-in. (1-m) and 36-in. (91.4-cm) reflectors.
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