Jennifer got us a pair of tickets for talks and a visit of the observatory, we took 2 people from the group she signed up with, and I got to drive every one up to Mt Hamilton.|
It had been a while since I had done that drive. I remembered it was 'fun', but I forgot how long it was. I was confident that I would easily beat the 1H estimate I got from google maps, but actually I barely matched it despite some spirited driving up the road, and passing multiple cars (almost all were nice enough to pull over).
We got there 15mn before sunset (i.e barely in time to get a few pictures), and went to attend the history talk about James Lick. His story is actually quite interesting, you can read up on it here. Because Jennifer was still on crutches, they thought it'd be best that we stayed in the room with the great lick 36 inch refractor. It was actually quite cool to see it operated, that also meant that we did not get to see the science talk that was being given at the same time :(
a few other people were outside to do their own viewing
By missing the science talk, we got to see the refractor being setup, and it's so long that the entire floor is raised and lowered so that the operator can be at the right height. It's pretty cool :)
After looking at the constellation they finally managed to focus on after a while, we went to see the Nickel Telescope, which is a 40 inch reflecting telescope which was actually made out of spare parts.
A few random slides they were showing on screens:
The drive home was also fun :)