Crossley telescope

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Crossley telescope
Crossley composite.jpg
Mosaic image of the Crossley telescope.
Named after Edward Crossley Edit this on Wikidata
Observatory Lick Observatory Edit this on Wikidata
Location(s) California, US
Coordinates 37°20′18″N 121°38′38″W / 37.3383°N 121.644°W / 37.3383; -121.644Coordinates: 37°20′18″N 121°38′38″W / 37.3383°N 121.644°W / 37.3383; -121.644 Edit this at Wikidata
Telescope style Optical telescope
Reflecting telescope Edit this on Wikidata
Diameter 36 in (0.91 m) Edit this at Wikidata
Crossley telescope is located in the US
Crossley telescope
Location of Crossley telescope

The Crossley telescope is a 36-inch (910 mm) reflecting telescope located at Lick Observatory in the U.S. state of California.


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 observatory. He had used it from 1879 to 1886 to prove the concept of long exposure astrophotography (recording objects 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.[1]

Nicholas Mayall was a long time user of the Crossley and added a slitless spectrograph to extend its usefulness in the face of larger telescopes.


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