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Dr. Terry Mast (Photo by Michael Bolte)

In Memoriam: Terry Mast (1943 - 2016)

  • August 17, 2016

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Terry Mast on June 5, 2016. Terry made many fundamental contributions to the design and construction of the Keck 10-meter Telescopes and made equally important contributions to initiation of the Thirty-Meter Telescope project. He was a valued colleague and good friend to many in the UC astronomy community and beyond.

Student Spencer Cheledon at the Lick Observatory Shops at UC Santa Cruz.

Soquel teen develops new technology for astronomical telescopes

  • July 26, 2016

Pacific Collegiate School student Spencer Cheleden has developed a new way to coat the enormous astronomical telescope mirrors during his summer research at UC Santa Cruz with research astronomer mentor Andrew Phillips.

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The exoplanet discoveries include four in Earth’s size-range orbiting a single dwarf star.

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.

Workers prepare the telescope for night-sky viewing.

Lick Observatory Featured in National Geographic Magazine

  • June 29, 2016

You won’t be able to wander freely among the giant telescopes at the Lick Observatory and tickets aren’t easy to come by for its various events, but make the trip anyway because it's worth it. 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. Budding astronomers will like that the observatory boasts the world’s first permanently occupied mountaintop telescope.


Planet-Devouring Star Reveals Possible Limestone Crumbs

  • June 13, 2016

A group of researchers using the W. M. Keck Observatory have discovered a planet-like body that may have been encrusted in limestone and is having its surface layers devoured by its deceased host star. In addition to extending a relatively new method of determining the chemical composition of planets to examine their internal structure, the team found that the rocky material being accreted by the star could be comprised of minerals that are typically associated with marine life processes here on Earth. The team – comprised of Carl Melis of University of California, San Diego and Patrick Dufour of the Universitie de Montreal – is announcing their findings at the 228th meeting of the American Astronomical Society this week.

Astronomy student Jennifer Burt.

The Sky Is No Limit For Planet-Hunting Grad Student

  • June 7, 2016

Astronomy student Jennifer Burt helped write software that turned a powerful telescope at Lick Observatory into the first automated planet finder in the world.

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Lick Observatory Makes's List of Things To Do in San Jose

  • June 3, 2016

Sharks territory extends to the top of Mount Hamilton at the iconic Lick Observatory, where visitors can enjoy stunning views from 4,200 feet above the valley and see one of the largest refracting telescopes in the world. Discover how physicist Stephen Hawking is working with Lick Observatory on the biggest scientific search for intelligent life in the universe.

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the galaxy UGC 9391.

Universe’s Expansion is Faster Than Expected

  • June 2, 2016

UC astronomers have obtained the most precise measurement yet of how fast the universe is expanding, and it doesn’t agree with predictions based on other data and our current understanding of the physics of the cosmos.The discrepancy — the universe is now expanding 9 percent faster than expected — means either that measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation are wrong, or that some unknown physical phenomenon is speeding up the expansion of space, the astronomers say.


Faintest Early-Universe Galaxy Ever, Detected and Confirmed

  • May 18, 2016

An international team of scientists has detected and confirmed the faintest early-Universe galaxy ever using the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit on Maunakea, Hawaii. In addition to using the world’s most powerful telescope, the team relied on gravitational lensing to see the incredibly faint object born just after the Big Bang. The results are being published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters today. The team detected the galaxy as it was 13 billion years ago, or when the Universe was a toddler on a cosmic time scale.

Artist's concept of planetary discoveries by NASA's Kepler space telescope.

Kepler Detects Nearly 1,300 More Planets Orbiting Distant Stars

  • May 11, 2016

Astronomers monitoring the Kepler space telescope have detected nearly 1,300 planets flying in orbit around distant stars, a cosmic search that began nearly 10 years ago inside a rusty old telescope dome at the Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton near San Jose.

Inside the Great Refractor by Laurie Hatch.

More Concerts and Public Telescope Viewings Planned for Annual Summer Series at Lick Observatory

  • April 11, 2016

Tickets for the popular Summer Series at UC’s Lick Observatory will go on sale Friday, April 8, for Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) members and Friday, April 15, for the general public at The 2016 program will feature more live music, evening astronomy lectures from world-renowned astronomers, and opportunities for the public to view celestial objects through two historic telescopes.

An image of distant galaxies forming stars. Credit: NASA, ESA.

UCR Student Traces Star Formation Rates in Distant Galaxies

  • March 22, 2016

When we think of a galaxy the first thing that comes to our minds is an assembly of stars. Indeed, the stars of a galaxy are one of its most important characteristics.To understand the physics of the evolution and formation of galaxies it is crucial to know at what rate galaxies form stars, referred to as the star-formation rate. This rate shows how active a galaxy is: young galaxies with large amounts of gas form many stars, while red and old galaxies that have depleted their gas reservoirs do not actively form stars.

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Ilse Ungeheuer, Communications Manager