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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.

Travel Information

Please allow some extra time to get to Lick Observatory: There are a few 1-way controlled traffic instances on Mount Hamilton Road which may slow you down: CalTrans info here. Consider taking Quimby Road as an alternative route to get to the observatory.


Featured News


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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Overview of the 37th Annual Summer Series:

Experience a night to remember at Lick Observatory in 2017: 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.



Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017



Viewing the Solar Eclipse

Lick Observatory will not be open for viewing the Total Solar Eclipse, and we discourage you from driving up to the observatory as the Lick Observatory Visitor Center will be closed, but there are many other options to enjoy the experience:

If you cannot travel to the path of totality, NASA will host an Eclipse Megacast providing live stream broadcast of the eclipse. The San Jose Astronomical Association (SJAA) will be holding a viewing event at Houge Park for the eclipse and everyone is welcome to join! For the August 21, 2017 event, the Kronos String Quartet will accompany the sonification process at the San Francisco Exploratorium and turn the entire eclipse into a spectacular sonic experience. The solar eclipse can also be viewed through your phones using the Total Solar Eclipse 2017 App! For more information, click here.

Please be advised to only purchase Solar Eclipse safe shades, glasses, or viewers. A good resource is the American Astronomical Society (AAS) which published a comprehensive online guide for viewing the eclipse safely.



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.

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