Lick Observatory at night
  • Stars above Lick Observatory. Photo taken by (c) Jonathan Chang on May 19th, 2017.

Photography Nights at Lick Observatory


At the summit of Mt. Hamilton, above the city of San Jose, we have spectacular views of the night sky. Due to Lick Observatory's popularity with photographers, we are organizing two photography events this year.

Photography Night dates in 2018:

  • Saturday, May 19th, 2018 (gates open at 7:30 pm)
  • Saturday, September 8th, 2018 (gates open at 6:00 pm)

Please sign up for our photography events mailing list below to receive updates on future photography events and to get an email notification when tickets for the Photography Nights will go on sale.

We will open up the main building after normal visiting hours for photographers and their equipment. We will have the 36-inch Great Refractor telescope in a photogenic position, with the dome open, weather permitting. (Note: viewings or taking pictures through the telescope will not be offered at this event.) Photographers will also be able to set up their camera equipment in the parking lot in order to capture the exterior of the main building, the San Jose city lights, and stars in the night sky.

The Gift Shop will be open for some time tbd in the early evening. After the main building closes at midnight, the post office lobby will remain open for access to the restrooms, water fountain, and the vending machines.

Need inspiration for what to shoot?
Check out the Lick Observatory Flickr collection and Instagram feed for ideas.

Driving to Lick Observatory
Allow a one hour drive from San Jose. Please drive carefully; the road is scenic, but winding. There are no gas or automotive services on Mount Hamilton Road, so please plan accordingly. Find more travel information here.


Admission fee: TBD -- per vehicle (one ticket per vehicle, 4 people maximum)

We have space for a maximum of 30 vehicles, up to four people per vehicle / ticket (buses and RVs are not permitted to the Photography Night). In the event of poor weather, registrants will be notified of event cancellation via e-mail on the day of the event, and your tickets will be refunded.

Join the Photography Events Mailing List

If you'd like to receive information about this event and others at Lick Observatory, please join our Photography Events mailing list.

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