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Lick Observatory Historical Collections Project, From Eyeballs to Electrons, Part I



“From Eyeballs to Electrons” is the first online exhibit from the Lick Observatory Historical Collections Project. The exhibit draws on artifacts and images from Lick’s collections to illustrate the evolution of light detection in astronomy, with special attention to Lick Observatory’s role. Part One begins with astronomy’s first detector, the human eye, and ends with photography’s long reign as the principal means for recording starlight. Part Two, coming this spring, will describe the development of electronic detectors, culminating in the digital age. Please visit the exhibit at:

The Historical Collections Project is a work in progress. It was created to preserve and make accessible the observatory’s historical holdings through cataloging, online databases, and exhibits. Please visit the Project website at:

A word of warning: Our server is small, and has been known to freeze. This message being the first public announcement of our website, we’re not certain how it will bear up under what we hope will be a good many visitors. If you are unable to reach the exhibit or project websites, our apologies in advance – and please try again later.


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