Fire Emergency: The list of immediate needs is growing and our priorities may need to evolve with circumstances. Your gift to the UCO Director’s Discretionary Fund today will provide the flexible support necessary for Director Max to address needs as they arise in this rapidly changing situation.

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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 2020 - August 2020
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    At the cutting edge since 1888.
    Lick provides UC astronomers
    with world-leading equipment.

Lick Update - Sept 22

Our staff are still fully engaged in recovery efforts due to the SCU Lightning Complex Fire. Lick Observatory remains CLOSED to the public. For at least the next four weeks CalTrans will be busy working on Mount Hamilton Road with heavy equipment removing fire damaged trees, brush, and restoring the damaged road.

It’s really important that we keep the roads clear. PLEASE DO NOT try to enter the area whilst fire recovery efforts are in progress. As soon as it’s safe we will post to our social networks. We look forward to inviting you back at that time. You can donate to our recovery effort here: - Thanks for all your support.

You can also follow us on social media for updates:
Lick Observatory FaceBook | UC Observatories FaceBook | Instagram | Lick Observatory Twitter | UC Observatories Twitter | Linked In

Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mount Hamilton, California, roughly 20 miles east of San Jose. The Visitor Center is currently closed due to COVID precautions and regulations.

Featured News

We wish all the Lick Observatory ticket holders a wonderful time on Mount Hamilton during our summer evening events :-)

Overview of the 40th Annual Summer Series:

Experience a night to remember at Lick Observatory in 2020: Visit us for exceptional music, lectures by renowned scientists, viewings through the historical 36" Great Refractor and the 40" Nickel Reflector telescopes and more! Our 2020 line-up:

June 12, 8:30 pm Astronomy Lecture Speaker TBD
June 13, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture Tingstad and Rumbel | Speaker TBD
June 26, 8:30 pm Astronomy Lecture Speaker TBD
June 27, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture White Album Ensemble | Speaker TBD
July 10, 8:30 pm Astronomy Lecture Speaker TBD
July 11, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture Tod Dickow with Charged Particles | Speaker TBD
July 24, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture< Speaker TBD
July 25, 8:30 pm Concert & Lecture Black Cedar Trio | Speaker TBD
August 7, 8:00 pm Astronomy Lecture Speaker TBD
August 8, 8:00 pm Concert & Lecture Men of Worth | Speaker TBD
August 21, 8:00 pm Astronomy Lecture Speaker TBD
August 22, 8:00 pm Concert & Lecture Fire and Grace | Speaker TBD

Ticket Information

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the 2020 Summer Series has been cancelled. Tickets will not go on sale.

Tickets for the general public go on sale on Wednesday, May 13th, 2020 at noon through Please email if you have any questions.

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 programs may be difficult for children under 12. The concert evenings ("Music of the Spheres") are for visitors 12 and older. All events 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 for the Summer Series (not the Public Evening Tours) one week before the general public (the deadline for becoming a FoLO member and to enjoy this member benefit is March 1st, 2020 for the 2020 Summer Series). To receive updates and news from us, please join our mailing list.

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

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