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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
    to 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:

UPDATE 02/20/2017: Mt. Hamilton Road (SR 130) is closed from 6.6 miles East to 9.8 miles East of the Junction of I-680 due to a washout. Please take Quimby Rd to get to Lick Observatory from San Jose.
During winter, please take extra precaution driving up to Lick Observatory. Snow, black ice, mud slides, and debris can cause hazardous road conditions. Please check for possible road closures here (State Route 130, Mt. Hamilton Road) before you make a trip.
Also, please be advised that the roadway up to Lick Observatory's main building will be closed for tree removal on February 21, 22, 27, and 28 (SR 130 won't be affected). The front parking lot can only be accessed via a foot path, not with vehicles.


Join us online on March 8th for GIVING DAY 2017!

UCSC Asst. Professor of Astronomy Ryan Foley and his team of undergraduate student researchers are 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!

Please take a moment and watch the video that the project team has put together for UCSC GIVING DAY 2017.

Thank you so much for your support!


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Lick Observatory

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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!
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Donate to Lick Observatory

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

For 127 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.


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 127 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.

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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.

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