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Providing UC Astronomers world class facilities

Welcome to the University of California Observatories [UCO]. UCO is a multi-campus research unit. We operate the Lick Observatory, the technical labs at UC Santa Cruz and UCLA, and we are the managing partner of the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. We are also the center for the UC participation in the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) project.

Lick Observatory Wildfire Relief

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

UCO Living Room Lecture 01/13/2021 Professor Emily Martin – NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Santa Cruz and UC Chancellors Fellow working on several instrument projects. Emily’s talk was centered around PEAS, the Planet as Exoplanet Analog Spectrograph, a new instrument being tested at Lick Observatory this winter. Covering the background for why she built this instrument, how the instrument works, and some of the science we hope to do with PEAS.

Upcoming Events

UCO Virtual Living Room Lecture

The next event will take place in Summer 2021 – Date To be confirmed
You can subscribe & watch all our previous events on our UC Observatories YouTube channel.

Or watch here on the website in our Virtual Events Archive

Email social@ucolick.org for registration details

Opportunities at UCO

Jobs - Grants - Summer Programs

Jobs

Software/Controls Engineer

  • Position based at UC Santa Cruz
  • Full Time

The University of California Observatories (UCO) Software/Controls Engineer will work collaboratively with the UCO faculty, staff (including mechanical and electrical engineers, software, and other technical staff) and others to design, develop, and maintain state of the art astronomical instrumentation, with a breadth spanning software and controls for everything from optical and IR detectors to precise and coordinated mechanical motion.

The Software/Controls Engineer tasks will include design and implementation, testing, and commissioning of control systems for instruments used for astronomy and for telescopes and ancillary facilities. Part of the duties will include maintenance and upgrades to existing controls and software subsystems on instruments, telescopes, or other facilities used for astronomy.

Job Number: 12914
Apply Here

Position is open until filled; initial review of application materials will begin on: 12-08-2020

UCO Educational Programs

Due to COVID-19 we are not able to carryout many of our in-person EPO programs. All large crowd events such as “Music of the Spheres” and “Evening with the Stars” events have been cancelled for the Summer 2021 season. Decisions on the smaller viewing nights will be made in late May.

Our education and public outreach (EPO) mission is to inspire deep connections with the universe. Whether you are a teacher or other science educator looking to improve your practice, or a UC researcher or student looking for EPO opportunities, we hope to connect with you through our many programs and outreach efforts.

Akamai Workforce Initiative (AWI)

The Akamai Workforce Initiative (AWI) is run by a consortium that includes ISEE and is led by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy, the Thirty Meter TelescopeNational Solar Observatory, and many Hawaii observatories, companies, academic institutions, and community organizations.

The primary goal of AWI is to build a local technical workforce that reflects the diverse demographics of the state of Hawaii. The initiative includes internships for college students, technical training, career coaching, and training for scientists and engineers to become more effective educators and mentors. AWI also played a key role in developing a new 4-year engineering technology degree program at University of Hawaii Maui College, establishing a long-term pathway for local students to pursue technical careers. The internship model used by AWI was originally developed by the Center for Adaptive Optics, and includes a range of innovative support mechanisms to advance participants into STEM careers. Participating students have been tracked for many years, and 83% have remained on a STEM pathway.

Additional information, including how to get involved, can be found at the Akamai Workforce Initiative (AWI) website.

Summer Series Events at Lick Observatory

Due to COVID-19 we are not able to carryout many of our in-person EPO programs. All large crowd events such as “Music of the Spheres” and “Evening with the Stars” events have been cancelled for the Summer 2021 season. Decisions on the smaller viewing nights will be made in late May.

We engage the local community with public telescope viewings. More than 2,400 guests visit the observatory each year for the Summer Series. Visitors have a chance to view a glimpse of the stars through two historic telescopes and listen to lectures by world-renowned astronomers. In the “Evenings with the Stars” program, we invite world-renowned astronomers to Lick Observatory for an evening with the “stars” you won’t forget.

Activities include: Astronomy talk by “star” scientists

  • Viewing through the historic 36-inch Great Lick Refractor telescope
  • Viewing through the 40-inch Nickel Reflector telescope
  • Fascinating history talk about Lick Observatory
  • After-hours gift shop access and light refreshments
  • Astronomy discussions with amateur astronomers using small ground telescopes

Please note: Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place.

Music of the Spheres Concerts

In this program, we bring world musicians to the summit of Mount Hamilton for a musical night to remember. Due to the popularity of the Music of the Spheres concerts

Activities include

  • A concert Astronomy talk by world-renowned scientists
  • Viewing through the historic 36-inch Great Lick Refractor telescope
  • Viewing through the 40-inch Nickel Reflector telescope
  • Astronomy discussions with amateur astronomers with small ground telescopes

Please note: Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place.

Graduate Workshops at Lick Observatory

The graduate workshop is held each year in the fall for astronomy students across the UC system to give students hands-on access and training with the resources and telescopes at Lick Observatory. Details for the next workshop will be posted nearer the time, dependent on Covid restrictions.

La Noche de las Estrellas
“La Noche de las Estrellas” is a special annual Lick Observatory visitors night for the Spanish-speaking community (by invitation only). Lick Observatory hosted approximately 100 high school students and family members from five nearby High Schools (Gonzales, Soledad, Salinas, Castroville, and Watsonville) for the inaugural event on Friday, September 28th, 2017. The students and family members enjoyed a Spanish-speaking evening on Mount Hamilton, featuring short lectures by renowned scientists (e.g., UCSC Astronomy Prof. Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Prof. Jesus Gonzales, Director of the Astronomy Institute, National Autonomous University of Mexico), followed by telescope viewings after dark through Lick Observatory’s 36″ Great Refractor and 40″ Nickel telescopes. The students and their family members also had the opportunity to meet astronomers like Prof. Claire Max (UC Observatories Director), Prof. Emerita Sandra Faber (UCSC and UCO/Lick), Prof. Emeritus David Koo (UCSC and UCO/Lick), Prof. Xavier Prochaska (UCSC and UCO/Lick), and dignities from the Mexican Consulate. This special event was sponsored and made possible by: The University of California Observatories (UCO) University of California, Santa Cruz MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) U.S. National Science Foundation and Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO). Details for the next La Noche de las Estrellas will be posted nearer the time, dependent on Covid restrictions.

UCO Mini-Grant Program

Each year UCO provides funding for Faculty and Researchers with the primary goal to provide funding for instrumentation design, technology development, workshops, or other significant service activities that directly address the strategic and functional goals of UCO.

The call for proposals for the UCO Mini-Grant Program is made each August with deadlines in the end of October or early November. Please see the UCO Mini-grant Page.

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