Office of Research and Graduate Studies
UC Systemwide Optical-Infrared Observatories
The University of California provides its faculty and students with access to a suite of world-class, state-of-the-art optical and infrared observatories. These include:
- Lick Observatory, established in 1888 on Mt. Hamilton in Northern California;
- W.M. Keck Observatory, established in 1993 on Mauna Kea, Hawaii; and the
- Thirty Meter Telescope, which is due to see first light (also on Mauna Kea) sometime in the next decade.
At the helm is the University of California Observatories (UCO), a multi-campus research unit which brings together astronomers from across the UC community to support and advance the science and technologies at these unique facilities.
UC’s goal and challenge in the coming years is to continue to partner — within UC and with external partners, donors and funding agencies - to find innovative funding strategies that can sustain Lick, advance Keck, and build and operate the Thirty Meter Telescope — all within UC’s fiscal constraints and guided by recommendations from our scientific experts.
Planning for the Future
In recent years, the UC astronomy community has led or participated in several efforts to chart the future of UC’s investments in optical and infrared astronomy. The UC Office of the President is working with UC Observatories, and in consultation with the wider UC astronomy community, to consider and implement recommendations from these reports, and to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of each of our unique observatories and technical labs, which together form a vibrant research ecosystem for astronomy.