The Lick Instrument and Optics Shops are engaged in efforts to refurbish the historic 12" refracting telescope. Installed in the dome which now houses the 40" Nickel telescope, the telescope utilized best-of-class optics made by famed lensmaker Alvan Clark. He considered the objective lens he made for the telescope to be one of the best he ever made. He and his sons went on the make the lenses for the 36" refractor, the largest in the world at that time.
First used by Lick astronomers to observe Mercury's transit of the Sun on November 7, 1881, the 12" was the main telescope on Mt. Hamilton as the great 36" refractor and its dome were being built. It has gone unused for many years, and it will now be restored as an important part of Lick Observatory's history.
All historical information included on this Web site is from the book "Eye on the Sky" by Donald E. Osterbrock, John R. Gustafson, and W.J. Shiloh Unruh.