Given to the observatory in 1895 by British politician Edward Crossley, it was rebuilt from the ground up as it was on a very flimsy mounting. It was last used in 2010 in the search for extra-solar planets but has been taken out of service due to budget cuts. The mirror, and some of the initial mounts came from the 36 inch reflector originally mounted in Andrew Ainslie Common's back yard Ealing obsevatory, who had used it from 1879 to 1886 to prove the concept of long exposure astrophotography (recording object too faint to be seen by the naked eye for the first time). Common sold it to Crossley who had it until 1895.
Observations by James Keeler helped establish large reflecting telescopes with metal coated-glass mirrors as astronomically useful, as opposed to earlier cast speculum metal mirrors. Great refractors were still in vogue, but the Crossley reflector foreshadowed the success of large reflectors in the 1900s. Other large reflectors followed such as the Harvard 60-inch Reflector (152 cm), also with a mirror by A.A. Common, or the 1 Meter Spiegelteleskop (39.4 inch reflector) of the Hamburg Observatory.
- List of largest optical telescopes in the 20th century
- List of largest optical reflecting telescopes
- ucolick.org - Telescopes of the Lick Observatory - The 36 inch Crossley Reflector
- Astronomy and Astrophysics - Lick Crossley 36-inch Reflector
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