The Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory


April 16, 2009
Installation of the APF telescope in its dome 
is proceeding this month.

The telescope will be used to find planets
circling distant stars by detecting small
repeating Doppler shift of their light.

April 21, 2009
Lotus reports that the APF is scheduled to be
installed this morning (Tuesday) starting at 7AM.
Keep an eye on the Hamcam 2 and the APF cam
for live images:

April 23, 2009

The telescope was installed in the dome today.

        APF Dome near completion
          State Route 130 is to the right.
APF Telescope Drawings
 Drawings from the Lick Observatory website show the arraingement of the APF Telescope.
     The dome has 'over the top' viewing doors allowing viewing at various angles above the horizon
           with less exposure to outside conditions.
      Rather than using slip rings the power and phone cable conduits are wrapped around the dome base
             as if a flat watch spring.
     In this multi frame image we are riding on the dome.
           Below is the concrete base for the telescope.
           The base is anchored as if part of the Mountain.
   The largest part of the telescope, its base, arrived Monday, April 23, 2009.
        The truck was parked on route 130 and the base which sits on the concrete base 
        was lifted into the dome.
    Coating the Primary
     The polished and figured 94 inch primary mirror.
          The glass is of a type that will not expand and contract with temperature.
    Preparation of the vacuum tank.
        The back of the mirror is convex.  
       First view of the coated primary.
      Shown is a schematic of a smaller coater of similar design
                 with mechanical pumps backing an oil diffusion pump.
      This coating machine was built for coating the 120 inch mirror of the Shane telescope
            and has coated many large mirrors over the years.




APF tour in Fall, 2009

APF first floor
Concrete pedestal is at left.
The center ring of floor is hanging from the second floor and rotates with the dome.
The stationary outer building wall is at right.

Standing on the outer first floor.
Steps to the second floor hang from the rotating second floor.

Dome drive

 Pedestal / Telescope interface

 Mirror Cell

  Secondary Mirror

  Mirror Cover

  As yet unprotected edge gap below cover and above mirror.

  The third mirror reflects light through the altitude axis. 
             In this picture the camera was held at the bottom of the gap, see picture above.

  Future location for the precision APF Eschell Spectrograph.  ( Spectrograph was at UC Santa Cruz for 'final' testing. )

   Dome ( second floor ) and telescope rotate in a sort of close but separate dance.

  Computers are never wrong, but just in case these limit switches are backup.


The Shane 120 inch Telescope and its mirror coating equipment

Shown is the Shane 120 inch telescope.
The guide star sodium laser is the long black box on the lower side of the telescope.
The declination bearing is in the foreground.

Shown is the mirror cell and adaptive optics assembly which works with the laser to sharpen star images.
Also in the same assembly is the high sensitivity 'low resolution' spectrograph.
The high resolution spectrograph is at the Coude focus in the basement,
   below the end of the 'right ascension' axis.
This assembly just clears the edge of the telescope mirror elevator seen at the lower right.

Below the main deck is the mirror coating vacuum tank.
The 120 inch mirror is re-coated here.
The 30 inch Fremont Peak telescope mirror has also been re-coated here.

The tripod for the 120 inch telescope is at left.

The mechanical vacuum pump or 'fore pump'.

Roots 'blower' and diffusion pumps.

Shown is the tunnel where the 120 inch mirror was tested during mirror figuring.
At the the other end of the tunnel, two floors below the dome can be seen the grinding/polishing
   machine with the prime focus cage resting on top of it.
The prime focus cage is only needed during collimation.

The Crossley Telescope and the Main Building

Outside Crossley  looking east
Outside the Crossley Telescope looking east.
   History of the Crossley Telescope on UTube,

Video programs in the Main Building.
Shown are the new video displays in the Main Building.
Subjects include history, various astronomical topics and ongoing work at Keck and Lick Observatories.
There is also a visitors gallery at the Shane 3 meter telescope with additional movies.  Visitors that arrive after
    3 or 4 PM often miss that area due to the 5 PM closing time.

Online visitor information is available at: