User's Guide to the Hamilton Spectrograph

Table of Contents

Quick Reference
CCD Characteristics
Grating Tilt & Dewar Height
Filter Wheel & Shutter
Calibration Sources
Photon Integrator
Image Rotator
Iodine Cell & Slit Room Controller
Guide Camera & Filter Wheel
Data Taking System
Hamilton Motor Controller
Hamilton Focus
More Info:
Spectral Format
Navigating the Spectrum
Table of Orders
Setup Procedures
Observing Hints

Data Archive
Mt. Hamilton Homepage


The Hamilton Echelle Spectrograph is a high-resolution optical spectrometer permanently mounted in a thermally and mechanically stable, semi-underground room at the coudé focus of the Shane 3-meter Telescope. The 0.6-meter Coudé Auxiliary Telescope (CAT) provides an auxiliary feed which permits the Hamilton to be used when the 3-meter is not configured for coudé observing.

The Hamilton's spectral format covers a practical wavelength range from about 3400A-9000A in a single observation. Dispersion varies from less than 2.0A/mm at 3500A, to just over 5.0A/mm at 9000A; resolution ranges from about 60,000-100,000, depending on the choice of detector and other variables.

As of the first quarter 2012 (beginning 1 February 2012) the dewar 4 CCD is the only detector available for use with the Hamilton Spectrograph. Dewars 6 and 8 have effectively been retired from service.

The Hamilton was designed by Steven S. Vogt (Lick Observatory) and realized in the Lick shops at University of California Santa Cruz. Its construction was made possible through the generous gift of Ms. Clara-Belle Hamilton. (See the original instrument paper: The Lick Observatory Hamilton Echelle Spectrometer, PASP 99, 1987.)

The Hamilton Spectrograph is a Lick facility instrument, available to the University of California astronomical community by subscription.

Time Allocation Policy
Observing Time Request Forms

All new users must be checked out by a resident astronomer on their first night.
Please request support on your time application.

Please direct questions to a Mount Hamilton support astronomer.
Email or consult the support astronomers' on-call schedule.

Support Astronomers (
Last modified: Wed Feb 22 18:0:00 PST 2012