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    Welcome to Lick Observatory
    We are an active research facility
    and a beloved Bay Area icon.
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    Experience the observatory at night.
    Summer Series
    June 2017 - August 2017
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    At the cutting edge since 1888.
    Lick provides UC astronomers
    with world-leading equipment.

Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mount Hamilton, California, roughly 20 miles east of San Jose. The Visitor Center and Gift Shop are open to the public year-round Thursday through Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m.

Important Travel Information:

Mount Hamilton Road (SR 130) is open again. Please check for possible road closures here (CalTrans) before you make a trip.

The observatory will NOT be open for viewing the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st as we are too far south of the Path of Totality.

Overview of the 37th Annual Summer Series:

Experience a night to remember at Lick Observatory: Visit us for exceptional music, lectures by renowned scientists, viewings through the historical 36" Great Refractor and the 40" Nickel Reflector telescopes and more!

June 16, 8:30 pm Astronomy Lecture Gaspard Duchêne, UC Berkeley
June 17, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture White Album Ensemble
June 30, 8:30 pm Astronomy Lecture Aaron Barth, UC Irvine
July 1, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture Jasmine String Quartet
July 14, 8:30 pm Astronomy Lecture Mark Ammons, L. Livermore NL
July 15, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture Tingstad and Rumbel
July 28, 8:30 pm Astronomy Lecture J. Xavier Prochaska, UCSC
July 29, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture Ars Minerva
August 11, 8 pm Astronomy Lecture Andreas Burkert, LMU Munich
August 12, 8 pm Concert & Lecture Charged Particles
August 25, 8 pm Astronomy Lecture Vardha Bennert, Cal Poly SLO
August 26, 8 pm Concert & Lecture Virginia Kron & Kim Robertson

Ticket Information

Tickets for the general public went on sale on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at noon through ucsctickets.com. We are officially SOLD OUT for this year's Summer Series.

Due to safety regulations, children must be at least 8 years of age for admission and accompanied by an adult. Due to late program hours, the program may be difficult for children under 12. The event will take place rain or shine.

Become a Friend of Lick and Get Tickets Early

As a thank you for supporting the observatory, you'll get special access to purchase tickets one week before the general public (the deadline for becoming a FoLO member and to enjoy this member benefit was April 1st, 2017 for the 2017 Summer Series). To receive updates and news from us, please join our mailing list.


    Introducing new Public Evening Tours in 2017

    March 15, 2017

    Starting April 23, Lick Observatory is offering monthly "behind the scenes" style walking tours in the evening to the general public. A highlight of the tour will be visiting the dome of the 3-meter Shane Telescope to see the mountain’s largest telescope up close.

    Look Back in Time!

    October 15, 2016

    The exhibition "Look Back in Time: Russell Crotty and Lick Observatory" opens on Sunday, November 13th, 2016 at the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Jose and runs through February 26, 2016. The solo exhibition features new work of Russell Crotty as well as a selection of previous work based on astronomical observations.

    Follow-Up Of Kepler Data Yields More Than 100 Confirmed Exoplanets

    July 18, 2016

    International team reports the biggest haul of new worlds yet uncovered by NASA's K2 mission, including many worlds that could potentially support life.

    Lick Observatory Featured in National Geographic Magazine

    June 29, 2016

    Getting to the observatory, set atop Mount Hamilton, is a ride of its own and the views (particularly the sunset from behind giant, bubble-like domes) are breathtaking.

Join the Lick Observatory family

The Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) membership program offers members an opportunity to participate in the Lick community and enjoy special connections with the telescopes, scientists, and science programs.Benefits include:

  • Opportunity for advance purchase of tickets for Summer Series events
  • 'Lick Observer' newsletter
  • 10% discount on gift shop merchandise
  • And more!
Learn More

Donate to Lick Observatory

Since the time of Galileo, astronomy research worldwide has benefited greatly by generous philanthropic support.

For 129 years, Lick Observatory has defined the cutting edge of astronomical research, technological development and public education. Our paramount goal is to continue these pursuits for decades to come. Help us continue our goal and donate today!

Give Now

All gifts are processed through the UC Santa Cruz Foundation. Thank you.

Thank you for your support on GIVING DAY 2017!

UCSC Asst. Professor of Astronomy Ryan Foley and his team of undergraduate student researchers were asking for your support to search for the sources of gravitational wave events with the Nickel telescope at Lick Observatory

Gravitational waves are spectacular ripples through the fabric of space-time originally predicted by Einstein a century ago and finally detected just last year. This discovery is a watershed event for our understanding of the Universe. But we still have so much to do! The next step is detecting light associated with gravitational waves. Our team of undergraduate researchers are performing this search with the Anna L. Nickel telescope at Lick Observatory. This is a unique opportunity for students to participate in cutting-edge research in physics and astronomy. Funding for this project will directly support undergraduate students. We will also upgrade the Nickel operations, increasing our chances of making the next big discovery!

We raised $ 5,932.00 with 51 gifts on UCSC GIVING DAY 2017.

Thank you so much for your support!

Watch the UCSC Giving Day 2017 Thank You video
Lick Observatory

Lick Observatory Self-Guided Walking Tour Fundraising Campaign Exceeds Goal of $10,000 in 24 Hours

May 26, 2016

Lick Observatory

Thanks to our amazing friends and supporters, we reached our fundraising goal for the installation of a self-guided educational walking tour at Lick Observatory. In just 24 hours, we exceeded our $10,000 match to raise $20,455 from 89 gifts as part of the UC Santa Cruz Giving Day.

We're hard at work designing the new walking tour. Here are the benefits to come:

  • Permanent signage at 12 historic locations around Lick Observatory's telescopes and grounds.
  • Walking tour will highlight historical information and scientific achievements for UC and California
  • Walking tour will have educational information to appeal to visitors of all ages
  • Walking tour will improve the visitor experience for 30,000 people who visit every year

For 129 years, Lick Observatory has defined the cutting edge of astronomical research, technological development and public education. Our paramount goal is to continue these pursuits now and well into the future.

Stay tuned for more exciting information about Lick Observatory. Thank YOU for your support.

Learn More

Lick Observatory has been at the
forefront of astronomy since 1888.

Lick Observatory was founded thanks to James Lick, an eccentric California millionaire who dreamed of building a "telescope superior to and more powerful than any telescope yet made." What followed was the famous Great Refractor, a feat of engineering and the largest refracting telescope in the world when it was completed in 1888.

Today, Lick serves as an active research facility for astronomers from eight UC astronomy campuses and two national laboratories. At any given time, over 100 observers are pursuing science programs at Lick Observatory.

Learn More