Lick Observatory’s Hamcams

Lick Observatory HamcamsSitting in a cube buried deep in an office building you wonder what it is like outside. Hello, webcams!

You can find a plethora of webcams from around the world via Google. One of my favorite local webcams is the Lick Observatory’s Hamcams atop Mt. Hamilton.

There are two Hamcams with a view of the South Bay and a view of six telescope domes. The quality of the views depend on weather conditions and the often present hazy in the valley. At night, there is a great view of the city lights; however, the view of the six domes is nonexistent due to lack of light. Clicking “Image With Description” provides information of that webcams view.

When I viewed the city lights the other evening I wondered about the light interfering with astronomical observations. I learned from the Santa Clara Valley & Lick Observatory website, among other criteria, “Some types of lighting are far better for astronomical observations than other types. Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) is the best, metal halide is the worst. LPS lamps produce almost all their output in a single color, or narrow range of wavelengths. To the eye, the light is a very pure yellow, because it emits only at that color. Astronomers prefer this lighting because it is easy to filter out.”

Lick Observatory’s Hamcams

Metblogs author Victor gives his account of visiting Lick Observatory here.

San Jose State University Department of Meteorology has a webcam view of downtown San Jose here.

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