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.
During winter, please take extra precaution driving up to Lick Observatory. Snow and black ice can cause hazardous road conditions. Please allow some extra time to get to Lick Observatory: There may be 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.
On the evening of November 7, 2017, a clear weather window in California's Santa Clara county allowed Lick Observatory's Shane telescope - coupled with the latest adaptive optics technology - to observe the progress of storm systems in the upper cloud decks of Neptune, nearly 3 billion miles across the Solar System. Multiple streams and hot spots are visible in both hemispheres in this raw, infra red, false color image.
A small team of UC Santa Cruz astronomers led by UCSC Asst. Prof. Ryan Foley observed the first visible event ever linked to gravitational waves on August 17th, 2017. Foley's team captured the first images of the event, located in a galaxy 130 million light-years away called NGC 4993, which was announced today.
"La Noche de las Estrellas" is a special Lick Observatory visitors night for the Spanish-speaking community. Lick Observatory hosts approximately 100 high school students and family members from five nearby High Schools (Gonzales, Soledad, Salinas, Castroville, and Watsonville) on September 29th, 2017 (by invitation only).
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.
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
Experience a night to remember at Lick Observatory in 2018: Visit us for exceptional music, lectures by renowned scientists, viewings through the historical 36" Great Refractor and the 40" Nickel Reflector telescopes and more! Planned dates:
|June 8, 8:30 pm||Astronomy Lecture||N.N.|
|June 9, 8:30 pm||Concert & Lecture||Black Cedar|
|June 22, 8:30 pm||Astronomy Lecture||N.N.|
|June 23, 8:30 pm||Concert & Lecture||White Album Ensemble|
|July 6, 8:30 pm||Astronomy Lecture||N.N.|
|July 7, 8:30 pm||Concert & Lecture||Melody of China
|July 20, 8:30 pm||Astronomy Lecture||N.N.|
|July 21, 8:30 pm||Concert & Lecture||Broceliande|
|August 3, 8 pm||Astronomy Lecture||N.N.|
|August 4, 8 pm||Concert & Lecture||Ancient Future|
|August 17, 8 pm||Astronomy Lecture||N.N.|
|August 18, 8 pm||Concert & Lecture||Charged Particles | Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz|
Tickets for the general public will go on sale on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at noon through ucsctickets.com.
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.
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 is April 1st, 2018 for the 2018 Summer Series). To receive updates and news from us, please join our mailing list.
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.
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:
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.
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!