2024 Summer Series Public Events have been scheduled! Tickets go on sale on Wednesday April 17th at Noon!
Event Information
© Laurie Hatch: A group of visitors to Lick Observatory is being welcomed at the entrance to the Observatory’s historic Main Building on Mt. Hamilton
(Early Summer Series ticket sales for members begins April 10 @noon). Members will receive instructions and a presale code prior to the on sale date.

Thank you for being a friend

Join the Friends of Lick Observatory Membership. Since its founding, Lick Observatory has enjoyed the goodwill of those who are inspired by the cosmos. Throughout its history, friends have been an indispensable part of the observatory’s success, starting with James Lick and including early philanthropists, like those who funded the Lick eclipse expeditions that verified Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and more recent donors like Google and individuals just like you!

As a FOLO member, you will be part of a community that cares deeply about advancing science, enhancing education, preserving history, and answering some of the biggest questions that humanity asks. Examples are included below for each level to show the type of impact your gift might have at each level.

Friends of Lick membership options

Celestial Circle:
Individual – $50
Family – $75

Gifts like yours* will be used for projects like enhancing our renowned Summer Series program.

Nebula Circle: $150

Because of donors like you,* Lick Observatory will be able to address immediate needs as they arise.

Galaxy Circle: $500

Gifts like yours* will be used to extend and enhance our public outreach programs  to underserved communities in the Bay Area and to provide bilingual support both at the observatory and on the website 

Supernova Circle: $1,000

Because of donors like you,* astronomers and staff can quickly obtain seed funds to help launch great ideas.

Quasar Circle: $2,500

Gifts like yours* will be used for projects like educational outreach–on the mountain, in the classroom and online.

Universe Circle: $5,000

Because of champions like you,* Lick Observatory can address strategic physical upgrades, ensuring that the Observatory is ready to continue advancing scientific research for the next 134 years.

*Gifts at all levels will be combined to make the largest possible impact on Lick Observatory priorities. Observatory leadership proposes specific projects. Our ability to say yes depends on the incredible generosity of each of our members. Thank you, again!

Please note: All gifts to Lick Observatory are processed through the UC Santa Cruz Foundation. By clicking the button below, you will be taken to the UC Santa Cruz Foundation site. Be sure to indicate your gift is to benefit the Lick Observatory. Thank you for your dedication and support.

FoLO memberships and donations help support Lick Observatory for current and future generations by:


☆ Preserving history

           ☆ Enhancing facilities

☆ Launching public programs

           ☆ Supporting UC students

☆ Developing new technology

           ☆ Building new telescopes

Friends Forever Circle: In addition to annual gifts, many friends choose to include Lick Observatory in their estate plans, just as James Lick’s will made the building of the Observatory possible in the 19th century. Please let us know if you are one of these extraordinary friends who will make Lick Observatory part of your legacy, so we can ensure your gift is used as you intend and that we have the opportunity to recognize your generosity now.

For more information, contact Natasha Pedroza at npedroza@ucolick.org.

Lick Observatory has been inspiring me since I was a child. It means a lot to our family to be able to support the Observatory’s current scientists and preserve its incredible history each year.

Friends of Lick Members at all levels receive…

Early access to our incredibly popular Summer Series events. Space is limited and tickets always sell out quickly, so we offer early access to tickets to members before opening sales to the general public. To qualify you need to become a member by the March 1 2024 deadline.

Join now to support the observatory and get early access to tickets for the 2024 Summer Series.

☆ 10% discount on online (or on-site) purchases from the Lick Observatory Gift Shop.

Whatever level of contribution is right for your family, please know that your support makes an enormous difference to the continuing vitality of Lick Observatory.

☆ Your membership makes an impact at Lick Observatory 

From the creation of a beautifully implemented self-guided tour to wildfire relief, the Friends of Lick Observatory continues to ask itself, “How can we best be a friend to this organization we all care deeply about?” and fund projects that support our mission to advance the scientific and public outreach goals of Lick Observatory. Below are a few examples of recent accomplishments:

Friends of Lick Observatory helps fund wildfire recovery efforts

In the aftermath of the SCU Lightning Complex Fire, which swept across Mt. Hamilton in August 2020, the University of California’s Lick Observatory faced major expenses associated with repairing damaged infrastructure. Although firefighters were able to save the major structures of the observatory, including all of the telescope domes, damage to peripheral buildings and infrastructure was extensive and recovery efforts are ongoing.

Immediate support for wildfire relief efforts at Lick Observatory was provided by the Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO), which designated $75,000 for this purpose.

Andrew Fraknoi, then chair of the Board of Directors of FoLO and emeritus chair of the astronomy department at Foothill College, said the designation of funds was prompted by an urgent need to start doing emergency repairs.

Without the support of FoLO’s membership-based organization these crucial funds would not have been available for the emergency response needed to kickstart recovery work.

Smart fire prevention in the historic main building

Several years ago, an electrical fire in the basement of the historic main building was only discovered because someone just happened to be working late in the building and smelled smoke. Had the building not been occupied, that fire might not have been detected in time to prevent catastrophic damage. The fire was later traced to wiring and water pipe electrical heater strips (to prevent freezing) located under the building’s wooden frame floor.

Friends of Lick Observatory worked with the observatory superintendent to fund historic preservation funds to address all of the problematic wiring, install updated smoke detectors throughout the affected area, and tie all of them into the mountaintop’s fire alarm system. These upgrades use cutting-edge technology to protect this historic site.

New equipment provides staff and local firefighters with an early warning system, giving the precise location of the tripped sensor, and also enabling high water pressure to redirect to nearby fire hydrants. Thanks to donors like you, we were able to quickly respond to this emerging need and protect the space that comes to mind first when we all think of Lick Observatory–halls that generations of us have first been inspired to look to the skies and fall in love with science.

Lick Observatory Self-Guided Walking Tour

Since the mountain was first surveyed back in 1861, it has been noted as a place of outstanding beauty. The 4,265 ft mountain-top is a great destination for a day trip. Located in the Diablo Range overlooking Santa Clara Valley, the Mount Hamiliton plateau delivers simply breathtaking views. From the city skylines of San Jose and San Francisco, the panorama stretches all the way to Half Dome at Yosemite.

Visitors learn about the astronomical triumphs of the world’s first permanently occupied, fully operational, mountaintop observatory while enjoying an unforgettable earthly vista.

Central to the University of California Observatories’ mission is ensuring accessibility to science education for a wider and more diverse community. To this end, resident astronomers requested that the Friends of Lick Observatory leadership board help build a multilingual walking tour with permanent in-ground signage.

Without the Friends of Lick Observatory, this signage project would not have been possible. In addition to gifts from donors like you, a crowdfunding project was launched, led by a generous challenge grant donor. In May 2019, our team installed the new signage at several sites of interest across the mountain.

The new tour signs are interactive with QR codes allowing users to access text for the sign in either Spanish or English. In future years, with more funding support, we would be thrilled to add more language options. Check out the walking tour website https://walk.ucolick.org.

Lick Observatory Public WiFi Network

The mountain top on which Lick sits does not have reliable cell phone coverage. The Friends of Lick board recognized that in the age of mobile technology it was important to provide a reliable WiFi service for staff and visitors on the mountain. With the membership funds donated to Friends of Lick this was made possible. Now visitors can access the public WiFi network throughout the inside of the Main Building, which is especially useful during Lick Observatory’s much-loved summer events.
Memberships are good for one year and benefits may be changed or substituted without notice. As is customary, a small portion of every gift is used for administration. The remaining 94% of your gift goes directly to Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO). Your gift is tax deductable; the UC Santa Cruz Foundation TAX ID number is 23-7394590. Friends of Lick Observatory (FOLO) is overseen by the Lick Observatory Council, a dedicated group of scientists, business entrepreneurs, and long-time supporters working to ensure a long-term, healthy future for Lick Observatory.