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Earthquakes Advent Calendar Day 20: Lick Observatory

These white domes are familiar to anyone that has visited San Jose.
Michael from San Jose, California, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Behind door number twenty of our San Jose Earthquakes advent calendar is another south bay icon, this has been perched high on a mountain for 130 years: Lick Observatory.

Anyone that has spent any time in San Jose surely has seen the enormous white globes sitting atop Mount Hamilton, but many may not know of its astronomical history. Lick Observatory has been functioning since the late 19th century and in that time has contributed much to the field of astronomy. One of its earliest discoveries was the fifth moon of Jupiter, found in 1892 with its 36-inch refracting telescope, then the largest of its kind in the world. That’s a neat story but what does this have to do with the Earthquakes?

Well, Avaya Stadium offers a perfect place to look up and the mountain and see the cluster of domes. Next time you are waiting for your tacos or pizza from the food trucks or are standing in front of the massive bar trying to decide on your next drink take a look up at Mount Hamilton.