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 Hawai’i. We are also the center for the UC participation in the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) project.

A summer internship at Lick Observatory offers astronomy students a unique opportunity to engage in real-world academic astronomy. It includes hands-on experience in data collection, reduction, and analysis, as well as exposure to telescope maintenance tasks.

Come and work with us

We have positions open on the stunningly situated Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose and the wonderful campus of UC Santa Cruz.

View jobs here 

Student/Postdoc/Faculty opportunities across UC

High school students: The Science Internship Program at UCSC

The Science Internship Program provides motivated, advanced students with a unique opportunity to work and learn at a premier research institution.

SIP is a summer-long (10 week) research internship program for high school students in STEM fields. UCSC faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers provide one-on-one mentoring of these high-school interns. The research projects are real in that they are not made up just for the high-school students; instead students are inserted into existing research projects here at UCSC.

Additional information, including how to get involved, can be found at the SIP website.

Undergrad students: The Akamai Workforce Initiative

The Akamai Workforce Initiative (AWI) is led by UCO’s Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators, in collaboration with University of Hawaii and many Hawaii observatories and high tech 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.

Community College Students/Undergraduates: Lamat Institute

The Lamat REU program aims to increase retention, graduation rates, and PhD admission for students enrolled in two-year or four-year colleges. Program participants engage in inquiry-based learning in astronomy and planetary sciences using state-of-the-art astrophysical simulations as a common pillar. We accept applications from all undergraduate students, but we particularly encourage students from community colleges to apply.

Additional information can be found at the Lamat Institute website.

Undergraduate Students: Workshops at UC Santa Barbara

June 24, 2024 to August 23, 2024

This 9-week Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Summer Research Program for undergraduates. Students will work with faculty and graduate students on a variety of cutting-edge research projects in Physics and Astronomy. The program also aims to provide all-round professional development through weekly activities, and a strong cohort experience through shared housing and social activities. Download the flyer here.

Additional information can be found at the UC Santa Barbara physics REU website.

Graduate Student: 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.

Postdocs & Faculty: 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.

Upcoming Events

Lick Observatory is open to the public.

Lick Observatory’s Summer Series of events are on sale NOW for 2024!  More information is available at Lick Observatory tickets are available at EventBrite here

© Laurie Hatch

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.

Special annual Lick Observatory visitors night for the Spanish-speaking community

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 hosts approximately 100 high school students and family members from five nearby High Schools (Gonzales, Soledad, Salinas, Castroville, and Watsonville). The students and family members enjoy a Spanish-speaking evening on Mount Hamilton, featuring short lectures by renowned scientists, followed by telescope viewings after dark through Lick Observatory's 36" Great Refractor and 40" Nickel telescopes. This special event is 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). The next La Noche de las Estrellas takes place in the fall of 2024.