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Providing UC Astronomers state of the art 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 Series

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

Lick Observatory Guide/Gift Shop Clerk

THIS POSITION IS LOCATED AT LICK OBSERVATORY, MOUNT HAMILTON, CALIFORNIA

Under supervision of the Visitor Services Supervisor, the incumbent performs guided tours and gift shop attendant duties at the Mount Hamilton Observing Station Visitors Center, located about 20 miles southeast of San Jose at 4,200 feet elevation. The Visitors Center is open to the public year-round and receives approximately 30,000 visitors per year.

Initial Review Date: 11/22/2021

Apply Here

Lick Observatory Senior Building Maintenance Worker

THIS POSITION IS LOCATED AT LICK OBSERVATORY, MOUNT HAMILTON, CALIFORNIA

The University of California Observatories (UCO) is a Multi-Campus Research Unit (MRU) funded via the University of California Office of the President, Office of Research and headquartered on the UC Santa Cruz campus. UCO operates on behalf of astronomers, researchers, postdoctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students across the UC system who are engaged in research, education and training in optical and infrared astronomy. In addition to managing the technical, physical plant and public outreach operations of the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, California, UCO provides the scientific and administrative liaison to the shared Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii and the international collaboration for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project. UCO comprises extensive scientific and technical staff and facilities at UC Santa Cruz and Lick Observatory as well as administrative and business services.

The Lick Observatory telescopes are scheduled 363 days per year, weather permitting. Additionally, Lick hosts about 30,000 members of the public via its summer programs and casual visitors. Lick Observatory also provides year-round residential housing to employees.

Under supervision of the Facilities Supervisor, incumbent performs various semi-skilled building maintenance tasks within the visitor services and maintenance buildings, telescope domes and residential units at Lick Observatory. Additional areas of work include grounds, facilities and hazardous materials maintenance.

Initial Review Date: 11/29/2021

Apply Here

Senior Mechanical Engineer

This position is being filled at either the Mechanical Engineer or Senior Mechanical Engineer level. Applicants are encouraged to apply to both job postings. See job numbers 25285 and 25286. To apply for the Mechanical Engineer, visit this link.

The University of California Observatories (UCO) is a Multi-Campus Research Unit of the University of California, with headquarters at the UC Santa Cruz campus. UCO operates on behalf of astronomers on eight UC campuses and two national laboratories and is comprised of extensive technical facilities, a business office, and telescope and support facilities at the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton. UCO provides UC’s scientific, technical, and administrative interface to the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the Thirty Meter Telescope international project.  It also supports training of astronomy Ph.D.’s and post-docs throughout the UC system, and in TMT’s partner nations.

The UCO engineering staff supports the design of new instruments, the upgrading of Lick Observatory and Keck Observatory instruments systems, as well as the continuous improvement and maintenance of Lick Observatory infrastructure.

The Keck partnership includes working in collaboration with our partners at Caltech and across UC to design new instrument concepts, design, develop, fabricate, and integrate and test new instruments and subsystems, and work with Keck to diagnose and repair existing instruments.  Any new mechanical engineer can expect to work closely with Keck Observatory staff and our collaborators on all aspects of new and existing instrument development.

The Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton has several active telescopes that are operated and maintained by the UCO team.  Upgrades to instruments and design changes for repair and improvements are an important aspect of the mechanical design effort at UCO.  In addition to the observatory efforts, the UCO staff supports graduate students and postdocs in completing their required thesis work and enabling design work to be done as these new instrumentalists design and build their own sub-systems and instruments.

The University of California Observatories Senior Mechanical Engineer will work on research instrumentation, designing and building the next generation of ground-breaking instruments for astronomy on some of the world’s largest telescopes.  The UCO mechanical engineering group works on a range of technical challenges on one of a kind projects: precision motion control, alignment of large, powerful optics, vacuum-cryogenic systems and more. We are looking for mechanical engineers who are enthusiastic about hands-on work and enjoy all phases of a project: concept design, FEA, manufacturing, assembly and alignment, and testing. We welcome applications from mechanical engineers with any level of experience who want to work in an academic environment on a variety of projects and who are excited about the engineering challenges of research instrumentation.

Initial Review Date: 11/3/2021

See Job Flyer Here

Apply Here

Mechanical Engineer

This position is being filled at either the Mechanical Engineer or Senior Mechanical Engineer level. Applicants are encouraged to apply to both job postings. See job numbers 25285 and 25286. To apply for the Senior Mechanical Engineer, visit this link.

The University of California Observatories (UCO) is a Multi-Campus Research Unit of the University of California, with headquarters at the UC Santa Cruz campus. UCO operates on behalf of astronomers on eight UC campuses and two national laboratories and is comprised of extensive technical facilities, a business office, and telescope and support facilities at the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton. UCO provides UC’s scientific, technical, and administrative interface to the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the Thirty Meter Telescope international project. It also supports training of astronomy Ph.D.’s and post-docs throughout the UC system, and in TMT’s partner nations.

The UCO engineering staff supports the design of new instruments, the upgrading of Lick Observatory and Keck Observatory instruments systems, as well as the continuous improvement and maintenance of Lick Observatory infrastructure.

The Keck partnership includes working in collaboration with our partners at Caltech and across UC to design new instrument concepts, design, develop, fabricate, and integrate and test new instruments and subsystems, and work with Keck to diagnose and repair existing instruments. Any new mechanical engineer can expect to work closely with Keck Observatory staff and our collaborators on all aspects of new and existing instrument development.

The Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton has several active telescopes that are operated and maintained by the UCO team. Upgrades to instruments and design changes for repair and improvements are an important aspect of the mechanical design effort at UCO. In addition to the observatory efforts, the UCO staff supports graduate students and postdocs in completing their required thesis work and enabling design work to be done as these new instrumentalists design and build their own sub-systems and instruments.

The University of California Observatories (UCO) Mechanical Engineer will work under general supervisor on research instrumentation, designing and building the next generation of ground-breaking instruments for astronomy on some of the world’s largest telescopes. The UCO mechanical engineering group works on a range of technical challenges on one of a kind projects: precision motion control, alignment of large, powerful optics, vacuum-cryogenic systems and more.  We are looking for mechanical Engineers who are enthusiastic about hands-on work and enjoy all phases of a project: concept design, FEA, manufacturing, assembly and alignment, and testing. We welcome applications from mechanical Engineers with any level of experience who want to work in an academic environment on a variety of projects and who are excited about the engineering challenges of research instrumentation.

Initial Review Date: 11/3/2021

See Job Flyer Here

Apply Here

UC Observatories Director

The next UCO Director will play a major role in shaping the future of the University’s investment in ground-based optical-infrared observatories and maintaining its global leadership in optical-infrared astronomy. Leading UCO, the Director will facilitate and advance groundbreaking work in astronomy and astrophysics. To this end, the University of California seeks a Director for UCO with a compelling vision and commitment to lead the organization in this transformative period.

Apply here at Opus Partners

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.