Lick Observatory's summer series brings a wide variety of musicians and scientists to Mt. Hamilton

Tickets for the popular concert and lecture series at Lick Observatory go on sale starting Wednesday, April 12

Lick Observatory
Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose. (Photo by Laurie Hatch)

Lick Observatory’s 2017 summer visitors program will feature live music, evening lectures by world-renowned astronomers, and opportunities for the public to view celestial objects through two historic telescopes: the 36-inch Great Refractor and the Anna L. Nickel 40-inch Reflector. Tickets to the summer series tend to sell out quickly and will be available online at starting on Wednesday, April 12.

The musical line-up includes the White Album Ensemble, a popular Beatles cover band; the Jasmine String Quartet from San Jose; Grammy Award winners Tingstad and Rumbel; baroque music performed by Ars Minerva; the Stanford-based jazz trio Charged Particles; and the celestial music of Kron and Robertson (cello and Celtic harp). The science speakers are experts in their fields and will provide fascinating insights into the universe as we know it and the current state of research in their respective fields of study.

Music of the Spheres

The Music of the Spheres concert series gives the public a rare glimpse of the observatory at night, and all proceeds from the event benefit Lick Observatory. Each event features a musical performance, an astronomy lecture by a scientist, and a history presentation about Lick Observatory’s rich past. Afterward, guests take turns viewing celestial objects through the 36-inch Great Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Reflector. Guests have additional opportunities to stargaze with small ground telescopes provided by amateur astronomers.

Dates for Music of the Spheres 2017:

  • June 17, 8:30 p.m. White Album Ensemble (speaker: Natalie Batalha, NASA Ames Research Center)
  • July 1, 8:30 p.m. Jasmine String Quartet (speaker: Martin Gaskell, UC Santa Cruz)
  • July 15, 8:30 p.m. Tingstad and Rumbel (speaker: Sandra M. Faber, UC Santa Cruz)
  • July 29th, 8:30 p.m. Ars Minerva (speaker: Raja GuhaThakurta, UC Santa Cruz)
  • August 12, 8:00 p.m. Charged Particles (speaker: Katherine de Kleer, UC Berkeley)
  • August 26, 8:00 p.m. Virginia Kron and Kim Robertson (speaker: Richard Kron, University of Chicago)

General, preferred, and VIP tickets will be available. For additional details and ticket information, please visit

Evenings with the Stars

The Evenings with the Stars program also gives the public a chance to view through the 36-inch Great Lick Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Reflector. Similar to the Music of the Spheres events, each program features an astronomy lecture by a star scientist and a history presentation. Amateur astronomers also set up ground telescopes so that guests can get additional telescope time.

Dates for Evening with the Stars 2017:

  • June 16, 8:30 p.m. Gaspard Duchêne, UC Berkeley
  • June 30, 8:30 p.m. Aaron Barth, UC Irvine
  • July 14, 8:30 p.m. Mark Ammons, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • July 28, 8:30 p.m. J. Xavier Prochaska, UC Santa Cruz
  • August 11, 8:00 p.m. Andreas Burkert, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
  • August 25, 8:00 p.m. Vardha Bennert, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Tickets for both Music of the Spheres and Evenings with the Stars will go on sale to the general public at noon on Wednesday, April 12, at

Mount Hamilton

Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range east of San Jose. Driving time from San Jose is about one hour via Quimby Road (lower Mount Hamilton Road CA-130 is currently closed due to a washout). Founded in 1888, Lick Observatory is at the forefront of astronomical research as an active research facility. It is operated by the University of California Observatories (UCO), a multi-campus research unit that serves eight UC campuses and is headquartered at UC Santa Cruz. More information is available online at

Please note: Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place. Due to historic construction of the telescope domes, the 36-inch Great Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope are not wheelchair accessible at this time. Children must be at least 8 years of age for admission. Due to late hours the program may be difficult for children under 12. More information is available online at