Summer programs draw visitors to Lick Observatory for music and stargazing

Tickets are on sale now for the observatory's popular summer evening programs

Lick Observatory
Sunset over Lick Observatory with open domes. (Photo by Laurie Hatch)

The Summer Series program at UC's Lick Observatory draws concert fans and astronomy devotees to the summit of Mt. Hamilton for live music, evening astronomy lectures from world-renowned scientists, and the opportunity to view celestial objects through historic telescopes.

Tickets for the Music of the Spheres and Evening with the Stars events are on sale now at Eventbrite. Additional opportunities to experience Lick Observatory at night are offered through the Public Evening Tours and Photography Nights.

Some of these events are already sold out, but tickets remain available for many dates throughout the summer. For dates, additional details, and ticket information, visit the Lick Observatory event listings on Eventbrite.

Each Music of the Spheres concert 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 Lick Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Reflector. Guests have additional opportunities to stargaze with small ground telescopes provided by amateur astronomers.

The Evenings with the Stars program gives the public a chance to view through the 36-inch Great Lick Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Reflector as well. 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.

The Public Evening Tours offer an expert-guided, four- to six-hour "behind-the-scenes" walking tour of Lick Observatory. Participants can learn about the unique history of the world’s first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory, the eccentric California pioneer James Lick, technology used for observing on different telescopes along the tour route, and current science being conducted at Lick Observatory. After dark and weather permitting, guests can view celestial objects through the historic 36-inch Great Refractor telescope.

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 Mount Hamilton Road. 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. Music of the Spheres is for ages 12 and over only.