From UC Santa Cruz: “Campus, Silicon Valley leaders celebrate Lick Observatory’s 130th anniversary”

UC Santa Cruz

From UC Santa Cruz

UCSC Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton, in San Jose, California, Altitude 1,283 m (4,209 ft)

July 24, 2018
Scott Hernandez-Jason
shj@ucsc.edu

UC Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley leaders on Monday marked the 130th anniversary of Lick Observatory, which has been at the forefront of astronomical research since 1888.

“It is impossible to overemphasize the value of Lick Observatory,” Chancellor George Blumenthal said. “While the UC Observatory headquarters is on the UC Santa Cruz campus, Lick and UCO are an excellent example of UC’s ‘Power of Ten.’ UC’s 10-campus resource base allows for the building and maintenance of world-class facilities for education and research that no single campus could manage.”

The University of California owns and operates the facility, which was founded by a bequest from James Lick. The $700,000 gift was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of science and would amount to $1.2 billion today.

State Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) presented a state resolution to Blumenthal on behalf of the South Bay legislative delegation in honor of Lick Observatory. The presentation took place at the observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor telescope.

Lick Observatory’s 36-inch Great Great Refractor telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

“Human progress does not end with us looking up at the stars, but rather challenging ourselves to define what the next frontier will be,” said Wieckowski, the chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “We are here to recognize Lick for being a resource for our state for more than a century, and we are grateful to the team who continues to maintain this observatory. The research and educational programs here not only broaden our horizons, they inspire students who will become the next generation of astronomers.”

Lick serves astronomers from all eight University of California astronomy campuses, as well as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Its users range in age from undergraduates to the most senior astronomers in the UC system. More than 100 observers are pursuing science programs at Lick at any given time. It is also the UC’s chief site for testing new technologies and instruments for optical astronomy. The technical facilities at UC Santa Cruz and UCLA upgrade existing instruments and develop new instruments for Lick Observatory.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese credited the observatory with helping make the area an 19th century tech hub.

“San Jose—Silicon Valley’s—iconic innovation started here on this mountain top,” he said. The milestones of innovation are reflected along the road put to Mt. Hamilton.”

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

UCO Lick Shane Telescope
UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

UC Santa Cruz campus
The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
March 23, 2015
By Hilary Lebow
1
The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

“Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

“The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

“We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

“This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

“Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

#130th-anniversary, #astronomy, #astrophysics, #basic-research, #cosmology, #uco-lick-observatory

From Air & Space: “SETI Gets an Upgrade”

1

Air & Space

June 2016
Damond Benningfield

2
The Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia may pull in an alien signal. (Jiuguang Wang)

Dan Werthimer doesn’t mean to be rude, but he’s getting ready to eavesdrop on the neighbors.

For decades, astronomers have been listening for messages sent to us—a “Hello, is anyone out there?” signal from intelligent aliens. But now Werthimer is about to get nosier; his team at the University of California at Berkeley is conducting the first search for communities on other worlds that are speaking to one another—between planets and even across star systems. And to do it, he has two of the world’s largest radio telescopes and support from a planet‑hunting optical telescope.

Thanks to a new initiative announced last July, Werthimer’s team will begin searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, using instruments with greater sensitivity and scanning across a wider range of frequencies than any SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) project to date. Called Breakthrough Listen, it began earlier this year and will continue for a decade at a price tag of $100 million. “It’s a lot of money, a lot of telescope time,” says Werthimer. “We’ll be able to look at a hundred billion radio channels simultaneously. A big problem in SETI is we don’t know on what frequency ET might be transmitting, so the more channels you can listen to, the better chance you have of finding” a communication.

It’s an incredibly exciting time scientifically,” adds Werthimer’s colleague Andrew Siemion, director of Berkeley’s SETI Research Center and another Breakthrough Listen leader. “Something like one in five stars has an Earth-like planet…. And our ability to look for different kinds of signals from intelligent civilizations on those planets is growing by leaps and bounds.”

3
Andrew Siemion eyed the Green Bank Telescope, in the 13,000 square-mile National Radio Quiet Zone, as ideal for SETI research in 2010. (Dr. Andrew P.V. Siemion)

Even with improvements in technology, though, SETI has remained a tiny area within the field of radio astronomy. “In the entire world, there are probably fewer than 12 people who do full-time SETI research,” according to Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer for the SETI Institute in nearby Mountain View.

But that small cadre of researchers, with the help of a few dozen part-time SETI dabblers, has plowed through an impressive number of projects. They have scanned the skies at radio and optical wavelengths for intentional messages from other civilizations. Researchers have picked through data from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope for evidence of vast architecture eclipsing part of a star’s light. (The public release of one star’s odd light curve last year generated a round of speculation about alien mega-structures. Sadly, followup observations have suggested that the more likely explanation is a swarm of comets.) And they’ve looked for super-civilizations producing copious amounts of waste heat in the form of infrared energy. And the ideas never stop coming: There is a proposal to search for alien probes and artifacts in the solar system (possible payoffs but expensive) and another to listen for signals in beams of neutrinos or the recently discovered gravitational waves (far beyond current technology).

The bottleneck is never a lack of ideas,” says Shostak. “The problem has always been funding.”

From the first search for extraterrestrial signals—Frank Drake’s Project Ozma in 1960—SETI has struggled to be taken seriously by traditional funding agencies. Modest NASA studies in the 1970s and 1980s were criticized by the U.S. Congress; in 1993, legislators axed what was meant to be NASA’s long-term sky survey after just a year. Since then the field has survived, barely, primarily on private funding sources.

Then last summer, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced he would foot the bill for the biggest alien hunt in history. “In the 20th century, we stepped out from our planet—to space, to the moon, to the solar system,” Milner said at a press conference for Breakthrough Listen last summer. “In the 21st century, we will find out about life on a galactic scale…. It is time to open our eyes, our ears, and our minds to the cosmos.” Among the luminaries endorsing Milner’s project that day was astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.

Milner, named after first-human-in-space Yuri Gagarin, was studying physics at Moscow University in the 1980s when the entrepreneurial spirit first hit him. He started buying American-made personal computers and reselling them in local shops, then ventured to the United States to get an MBA. After briefly working at the World Bank, he returned to Russia and began investing in businesses, parlaying the purchase of a small factory into the takeover of the country’s largest Internet company. With that move as an entry to the world of technology, Milner organized a venture capital fund, DST Global, which became an early investor in Facebook, then Twitter, Groupon, and Airbnb, along with major companies in India and China. According to Forbes, by the end of 2015 Milner amassed a net worth of $3.3 billion. In happy news for non-billionaire scientists, Milner started a foundation in 2012 that awards three $3 million prizes annually—the largest academic prize in the world—for achievements in fundamental physics, life sciences, and mathematics.

He also refuses to give interviews about his latest investment, so we can get a sense of his intentions only from the people now running the Breakthrough Listen project. “He studied physics, he studied the same kind of books in school that I did, so he knows a lot about SETI,” says Werthimer. “He really appreciates all the subtle nuances, and he asks a lot of great questions. He knows the chances that we might find something are slim. But he speaks about this in the long term. He’s in it for the long haul.”

4
The Nickel Telescope at California’s Lick Observatory (with SETI’s Dan Werthimer, second from left) will look for lasers. Being used in the Niroseti project (Laurie Hatch)

Werthimer was already in it for the long haul—he’s been working on SETI for decades, although his original love was the hardware, rather than the research. He’s been a tech junkie since his school days, when he joined the Homebrew Computer Club in California, where his fellow members included Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. “We were kind of messing around in our basements, and we made the very first desktop,” Werthimer says. “Everybody in that club got filthy rich except for me, because I wanted to use the computers to do astronomy. But I got really good at computing. I built a lot of cool machines that were in some ways better than the Apple, but I never thought about selling them.”

Werthimer began to build instruments that collect and analyze radio signals from space, and eventually started SETI@Home in 1999, a program that harnesses the background processing power of any computer it’s installed on to help sift through portions of the massive amounts of data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

SETI@home, BOINC project at UC Berkeley Space Science Lab
SETI@home, BOINC project at UC Berkeley Space Science Lab

NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA
NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA

And although his work hasn’t revealed any alien civilizations, Werthimer isn’t bothered by the silence. “I wouldn’t be in this field if I were not an optimist,” he says. “We’ve covered maybe a billionth of the parameter space. We can rule out super-civilizations that want to conquer the galaxy”—whew—“but we can’t rule out civilizations like ours.”

Siemion too developed an early interest in science and technology. “I did a report when I was in third grade on a book by Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time,” he says. “When I got to Berkeley I was looking over possible research opportunities, and I discovered that there was a SETI group. I had an ‘aha’ moment—I knew immediately that that’s what I would do.”

Siemion led his first SETI project while he was still a graduate student. He got the idea in 2010, while he was attending a meeting at the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Project Ozma. Attendees were re-creating Ozma, which originally used a small radio antenna at the Green Bank location, with the observatory’s new 300-foot-diameter Green Bank Telescope, the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world. While Ozma took about 150 hours of telescope time, the re-creation required only a few seconds to scan the same amount of sky.

“I started thinking: Why not do some real SETI with the telescope,” Siemion says. “On the plane back to San Francisco, I met in the aisle with a few other people, and we decided to write a proposal.” The idea was to look at star systems in which the Kepler space telescope had discovered planets. “We actually received not the best grade from the time allocation committee at Green Bank,” he says. “They gave us a C, because I think they were a little bit suspicious about whether we would actually be able to do it, but luckily, even though it wasn’t highly ranked, we still got the time.”

Breakthrough Listen will take advantage of the data from Siemion’s work with Green Bank, but more importantly, it comes at a crucial time for the observatory. Constructed in a valley in the West Virginia mountains, the Green Bank Telescope opened in 2000 as part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. NRAO is funded by the National Science Foundation and runs several facilities, including the Very Large Array in New Mexico and the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, or ALMA, in Chile (“The Universe’s Baby Boom,” Aug. 2013).

NRAO/VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.
NRAO/VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico

ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array

But in 2012, NSF issued a report on the next 10 years of astronomy research that recommended pulling Green Bank’s funding by 2017, because some of its research abilities are duplicated at larger facilities like the VLA and Arecibo Observatory. Now SETI—usually the research area struggling for funding—has come along with Breakthrough Listen at just the right moment, providing a reason and the means to keep the telescope operating while its staff looks for additional funding.

5
Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announces Breakthrough Listen last July alongside Stephen Hawking, Martin Rees, Frank Drake, and Ann Druyan. (Breakthrough Initiatives)

One of Green Bank’s advantages is that it’s cocooned in the 13,000-square-mile National Radio Quiet Zone, where radio transmitters, cellphone towers, wifi networks, and other technology are limited by state and federal regulations. Scientists there would have an easier time determining if a signal in their observations is a message from another planet rather than a local teenager’s text. “One of the hardest things to do is tease out a signal from another civilization in the radio observations,” says Karen O’Neil, the Green Bank Observatory site director. “There are a lot of repeating patterns, but they’re all man-made.”

Green Bank’s receivers are so sensitive they can detect the crackle of spark plugs in a gasoline-powered engine, so only diesel vehicles are allowed within a mile of the dish. The microwave oven in the observatory’s cafeteria sits inside a shielded box, and once the telescope even picked up interference from a small current generated by a wet dog lying down on an old heating pad. Staff members drive around in a pickup truck equipped with scanning equipment to track down stray electromagnetic signals, and sometimes lend a hand to help repair or replace offending devices in nearby businesses and homes.

SETI is using some of the project funding to expand Green Bank’s computer capabilities far beyond those of any previous radio SETI project. The system will be able to process and store as much data in a single day as existing projects do in a year or more. Then it’s sent out to the SETI team at Berkeley and SETI@Home volunteers for analysis. The extra processing and storage capabilities are necessary because Breakthrough Listen will scan billions of radio channels between 1 and 10 gigahertz. Earlier surveys have been able to scan no more than a few hundred million channels at a time, with about half the spectral range. “We probably have a trillion times better capabilities today than when I started 40 years ago,” says Werthimer.

That sensitivity should allow the telescopes to pick up intelligent signals not meant for us, something that couldn’t have been done before the Kepler mission provided astronomers with exoplanet locations. “There’s speculation that an advanced civilization might colonize another planet in its own solar system, like we might do with Mars,” says Werthimer. “They might send messages back and forth between planets, and we could pick up the signals when they line up with Earth.” In addition to the nearest million stars to Earth, the SETI group will monitor the densely packed center of the Milky Way galaxy, about 27,000 light-years away. “Our solar system is about five billion years old,” says Werthimer. “Some stars are 10 billion years old, so there could be some very advanced civilizations out there.” And finally, Breakthrough Listen will stretch its search out even farther, to 100 nearby galaxies where super-civilizations might be blasting messages between solar systems.

7
SETI will tune into Planet -452b (concept opposite) and other exoplanets found by NASA’s Kepler. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

While the Green Bank Telescope searches in the northern hemisphere, Breakthrough Listen will use the Parkes Telescope near Sydney, Australia, to search the southern sky. The 210-foot movable dish is best known for transmitting most of the Apollo 11 moon landing video for the worldwide television broadcast (the event was fictionalized in the 2000 movie The Dish). The project will use about 20 percent of the observing time on each telescope, a jump from the few dozen cumulative hours SETI usually gets annually to thousands of hours.

The third facility SETI is using will look instead of listen. The Automated Planet Finder, a 96-inch optical telescope at Lick Observatory, outside San Jose, California, will devote 10 percent of its time to searching for interstellar lasers.

Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope
Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope

“If we took our own highest-powered lasers and paired them with our largest telescopes, we could send a beam that would outshine the sun by a factor of 10 at a distance of 1,000 light-years,” says Siemion. “Perhaps other civilizations are doing that to contact other civilizations, or to transmit a large amount of information.” It would be the equivalent of a Galaxy Wide Web.

8
The Parkes Observatory in Australia (opposite) is Breakthrough Listen’s outpost to eavesdrop on alien communication between star systems. (Daniel Sallai)

Of course, not everyone is optimistic about the chances of Breakthrough Listen or any other SETI project finding evidence of neighboring civilizations, but not necessarily because they don’t believe in aliens. “Listening for intentional messages seems like a lost cause,” says Paul Davies, a researcher at Arizona State University and author of The Eerie Silence, a book that posits that current searches for intelligent life are flawed. “I’ve argued that we should be looking for other things: beacons, or probes, or alien artifacts in our own solar system. We have no idea how a super-civilization would manifest itself. It could be genetic—we could find signs in terrestrial biology…. There’s a good chance we might be alone in the universe. So we should search, but we shouldn’t spend a lot of money on it.”

Even Werthimer doesn’t expect to hear from extraterrestrials anytime soon. “I’m optimistic in the long run,” he says. “We Earthlings are a young, emerging civilization. We’re just getting in the game, so a thorough search will take a while…. We probably won’t see anything in the next 10 years, so we’ll have to devise a new plan after that. Maybe, if the trend in computing power keeps going, we’ll find ET in 30 years.”

In the meantime, let the eavesdropping begin.

See the full article here.

Prelude to the Breakthrough Project

UC Santa Cruz
From UCO Lick
March 23, 2015

Hilary Lebow

Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

8
The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch)

“Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

“The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

“We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

4
UCSC alumna Shelley Wright, now an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego, discusses the dichroic filter of the NIROSETI instrument. (Photo by Laurie Hatch)

“This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

“Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

See the full article here.

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

#air-space, #astronomy, #basic-research, #extraterrestrial-life, #niroseti, #radio-astronomy, #seti-institute, #setihome, #uco-lick-observatory

From Lick Observatory at UCSC: “Help Lick Observatory raise funds for a self-guided walking tour! “

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz

5.7.16

As part of UC Santa Cruz’s Giving Day on May 11, we’re raising funds to install permanent signage at 12 historic locations around Lick Observatory’s telescopes and grounds as part of a self-guided, educational walking tour.

UC Observatories Lick APF
UC Observatories Lick Automated Planet Finder

The observatory is a popular site for visitors, as one of the few places in the world where historic telescopes operate alongside new telescopes that employ the latest technology. Approximately 30,000 people visit the observatory each year. Permanent signage for the walking tour will help those visitors appreciate the observatory’s telescopes, scientific achievements and prominent role in the history of UC and California.

Learn more here: http://giving.ucsc.edu/givingday/

Thanks to Laurie Hatch Photography for the photo.

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

UCO Lick Shane Telescope
UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC/em>

UC Santa Cruz campus
The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

#astronomy, #basic-research, #uco-lick-observatory

From Irish Examiner via UCSC: “Blackrock Castle Observatory is the perfect space” Again Lick Shines in STEM

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz

1

March 18, 2016
John Tynan

It was an out-of-the-blue phone call from an American that led to a space observatory being built in Cork City. Nine years on, and the project is being applauded worldwide for its work with children, writes John Tynan

2

It was a Friday evening in 2002. Niall Smith was preparing to leave the office for the weekend when the phone rang.

The man at the end of line introduced himself. He was Texan, called Gary O’Keeffe and he wanted to know where the observatory was in Cork.

Niall Smith, an astrophysicist at CIT, had to tell him that the city didn’t have one. O’Keeffe said it was a pity and that one should be developed. Smith had to agree with him.

“So myself and Alan Giltinan started looking for sites with Gary and we spent the best part of two years in farmers’ fields, different locations, looking at dark sites, essentially. But the cost of buying land prohibited our plans, plus we had planning and rezoning issues”.

Two years later, Cork City Council bought the 16th-century Blackrock Castle from an engineering company. Its tower, three miles from the city centre, was built by the citizens of Cork in 1582 to protect the harbour from pirates.

Smith sent off a two-liner letter to the then city manager Joe Gavin suggesting that it would be a great site for an observatory. They were shocked when Gavin came back to them quickly, said he really liked the idea and asked for a two-pager expanding on their plans.

3
Co-founders of the Blackrock Castle Observatory , Alan Giltinan, systems manager, Blackrock Castle Observatory, and Dr Niall Smith, head of research CIT. Picture: Gavin Browne

“Shortly afterwards, we found out it had been given the green light by the council. It was like all our Christmases had come together. Following much renovation, we opened in 2007.”

“When Blackrock Castle was built, people did not even understand what stars were. In fact, Blackrock Castle pre-dates the invention of the telescope,” says Smith, sitting in his office surrounded by research papers. “A phrase we use about our location is 21st-century technology in a 16th-century castle”.

Blackrock is a working observatory, generating new knowledge. It’s a science and discovery centre with PhD students actively conducting research.

“Much of the research we do has its basis in conversations we had with Aidan O’Connor, who, like Gary Keeffe, is now deceased. Aidan was a lecturer and a brilliant researcher and intimately involved with discussions about BCO at the outset. He also did a lot of the original data analysis.”

A primary function of the observatory is educating children, under the tutelage of the effervescent ‘performance astronomer’ Frances McCarthy, who has a degree in astronomy and physics from the University of Toronto and experience in interactive museums around the world.

“We’ve been running a project called TARA, where we allow children to remotely operate a small telescope on the roof of a school in California and the key thing is the eight-hour time difference as it allows Irish children during the day to see the US skies at night.

“We are now installing a telescope in Pune, India. They are five-and-a-half hours ahead, which means we can access it in the afternoon and also later for after-school clubs. The telescope in California also gives opportunities for Irish children to interact with American children. This has been moderately successful, but we are breaking new ground.

“We also have an agreement to get access to a bigger telescope in California at the world-famous Lick Observatory, which is linked with University of California, Berkeley [really? Read “Santa Cruz”]. We are looking to raise €20,000 to allow 50 nights’ access to the telescope. This telescope has more than six times the light-collecting ability of the telescope at Blackrock Castle, but it is also in a dark site. The quality of the images for the children will be amazing. You could track an asteroid, for example, with this telescope, or look at distant quasars. These are among the most distant objects in the universe. The children will be able to search for supernova, stars that are dying or forming, there’s a universe of stuff you can see with it.

“What’s interesting is that nobody outside ourselves will have access to the Lick telescope for this kind of project. Basically, they liked our project TARA… bringing astronomy into schools.” Smith says the figures speak for themselves when it came to the observatory’s popularity.

3
Children at the observatory. Picture: Gavin Browne

“We will have over 30,000 children doing workshops, either in the castle or through our outreach programme this year. We also have another 30,000 drop-in visitors. On top of that, we have another 50,000 who visit the castle site and while most would be going to the popular Castle restaurant, they still see our exhibits in the courtyard, so they are being touched and made aware of science, even if it’s only marginally.

A number of times during the year, Cork Astronomy Club bring their telescopes to the castle for observing sessions that are open to the public.

Prepare to be spaced out: On a clear night, you would see about two-thirds of the way across the universe with the Blackrock Castle telescope. That’s about 30bn light years.

“We don’t even have the biggest telescope in Cork — an amateur astronomer has one twice the size — but the work we are doing is important in developing techniques in observing. Size doesn’t always count. We can take the techniques we are developing and apply them elsewhere on bigger telescopes.” The future looks good for the observatory, which is managed on behalf of CIT by a wholly-owned subsidiary, Cosmos Education, says Smith.

BCO had its most successful year last year, but, importantly, secured two generous grants in recognition of its work to date.

See the full article here .

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

UCO Lick Shane Telescope
UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory

UC Santa Cruz campus

The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

#astronomy, #basic-research, #stem, #uco-lick-observatory

From UCO: “Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory Joins Massive Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe”

UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz

July 20, 2015
Hilary Lebow
831-459-3455
lebow@ucolick.org

1
Venus appears bright in the sky just behind the 2.4-meter Automated Planet Finder dome at Lick Observatory. Fully robotic and equipped with a high-resolution spectrograph optimized for precision Doppler measurements, the APF telescope enables off-site astronomers to detect rocky planets of Earth-size masses within our local galactic neighborhood. Photo by Laurie Hatch.

Today investor Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking announced a $100 Million Breakthrough Prize Initiative to dramatically reinvigorate the search for intelligent life in the universe over the next ten years.

This is the biggest scientific search yet for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth. Lick Observatory’s Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope above San Jose, California, will undertake a new deep and broad search for optical laser transmissions from nearby civilizations, if any exist.

The APF is the newest telescope at Lick Observatory. It consists of a 2.4-meter automated telescope and enclosure, and the high-resolution Levy spectrograph. It operates robotically on every clear night of the year; its main emphasis to date has been on discovering and characterizing extrasolar planets.

With this new Breakthrough Prize Initiative, the APF telescope and its Levy spectrometer will search 1,000 nearby stars and 100 nearby galaxies for visible-light laser emission from technological sources. Lasers may be used by other civilizations for communication between their home planet and satellites, interplanetary spacecraft, or colonies on other worlds.

Such laser emissions will be distinguished from the emission from astronomical objects by the extreme single-wavelength nature of laser emission, and by the unresolved point source (a dot in the sky) from which the emission originates. It may even be that the Milky Way contains a galactic internet of laser emission. If so, the APF may be able to eavesdrop on their transmissions.

“As part of the Breakthrough Prize Initiative, the APF telescope will undertake the most extensive search for optical laser transmissions in history,” said Claire Max, Interim Director of UC Observatories. It is a tremendous honor to participate in a project of this size and scope.”

The initiative was announced today (July 20) at The Royal Society in London. The Breakthrough Prize Foundation is also contracting with two of the world’s largest radio telescopes for the search– the 100-meter Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope [GBT] in West Virginia and the 64-meter Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

NRAO GBT
NRAO GBT

CSIRO Parkes Observatory
CSIRO Parkes Observatory

“We’ve learned a lot in the last fifty years about how to look for signals from space. With the Breakthrough Initiatives, the learning curve is likely to bend up-ward significantly,” said Frank Drake, SETI pioneer and UCSC Professor Emeritus in Astronomy and Astrophysics. “Right now there could be messages from the stars flying right through the room, through us all. That still sends a shiver down my spine. The search for intelligent life is a great adventure.”

The overall program will include a survey of the 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth. It will scan the center of our galaxy and the galactic plane. Beyond the Milky Way galaxy, telescopes will listen for messages from the 100 closest galaxies.

“We learned from the NASA Kepler mission that our Milky Way Galaxy contains tens of billions of Earth-size planets at lukewarm temperatures, any of which might harbor life,” said Geoff Marcy, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Berkeley.

Other project leaders include Dan Wertheimer (SETI), Andrew Siemion (Berkeley SETI Research Center), Lord Martin Rees (University of Cambridge), Pete Worden (Breakthrough Prize Foundation) and Ann Druyan (Cosmos Studios).

Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mt. Hamilton in the Diablo Range east of San Jose, CA. Founded in 1888, Lick Observatory is a forefront astronomical research facility operated by the UC Observatories (UCO), a multicampus research unit that serves eight University of California campuses and is headquartered at UC Santa Cruz.

2
Inside the dome of the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory.Photo by Laurie Hatch.

See the full article here.

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition
The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

#astronomy, #basic-research, #seti, #uco-lick-observatory

From UCSD: “Search for extraterrestrial intelligence extends to new realms”

UC San Diego bloc

UC San Diego

March 19, 2015
Susan Brown

1
The NIROSETI team with their new infrared detector inside the dome at Lick Observatory. Left to right: Remington Stone, Dan Wertheimer, Jérome Maire, Shelley Wright, Patrick Dorval and Richard Treffers. Photos by © Laurie Hatch [at the UCO Lick Nickel One meter telescope on which NIROSETI is installed]

New instrument will scan the sky for pulses of infrared light

Astronomers have expanded the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light. Their new instrument has just begun to scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

“Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from greater distances. It also takes less energy to send the same amount of information using infrared signals than it would with visible light.

The idea dates back decades, Wright pointed out. Charles Townes, the late UC Berkeley scientist whose contributions to the development of lasers led to a Nobel Prize, suggested the idea in a paper published in 1961.

Scientists have searched the heavens for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search to the optical realm more than a decade ago. But instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light have only recently become available.

2
Shelley Wright holds a fiber tht emits infrared light for calibration of the detectors.

“We had to wait,” Wright said, for technology to catch up. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

Three years ago while at the Dunlap Institute, Wright purchased newly available detectors and tested them to see if they worked well enough to deploy to a telescope. She found that they did. Jérome Maire, a Fellow at the Dunlap, “turned the screws,” Wright said, playing a key role in the hands-on effort to develop the new instrument, called NIROSETI for near-infrared optical SETI.

NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed to for potential signs of other civilizations, a record that could be revisited as new ideas about what signals extraterrestrials might send emerge.

Because infrared light penetrates farther through gas and dust than visible light, this new search will extend to stars thousands rather than merely hundreds of light years away. And the success of the Kepler Mission, which has found habitable planets orbiting stars both like and unlike our own, has prompted the new search to look for signals from a wider variety of stars.

NASA Kepler Telescope
Kepler

NIROSETI has been installed at the University of California’s Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose and saw first light on March 15.

3
Skies cleared for a successful first night for NIROSETI at Lick Observatory. The ghost image is Shelley Wright, pausing for a moment during this long exposure as the rest of her team continued to test the new instrument inside the dome.

Lick Observatory has been the site of several previous SETI searches including an instrument to look in the optical realm, which Wright built as an undergraduate student at UC Santa Cruz under the direction of Remington Stone, the director of operations at Lick at that time. Dan Werthimer* and Richard Treffers of UC Berkeley designed that first optical instrument. All three are playing critical roles in the new search.

NIROSETI could uncover new information about the physical universe as well. “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” Werthimer said. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

4
Patrick Dorval, Jérome Maire and Shelley Wright in the control room of the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, where their new instrument has been deployed.

The group also includes SETI pioneer Frank Drake of the SETI Institute and UC Santa Cruz who serves as a senior advisor to both past and future projects and is an active observer at the telescope.

Drake pointed out several additional advantages to a search in this new realm. “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success.” he said. The receivers are also much more affordable that those used on radio telescopes.

“There is only one downside: the extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction,” Drake said, though he sees a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student. Shelley Wright is also a member of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at UC San Diego. Richard Treffers is now at Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

See the full article here.
[The owner of this blog is a small financial supporter of UCO Lick, SETI Institute, UC Santa Cruz where UCO is managed, and SETI@home, which caused him to spend an inordinate amount of time on this post. I hope it gets read by a lot of people.

*Dan Werthimer is co-founder and chief scientist of the SETI@home project and directs other UC Berkeley SETI searches at radio, infrared and visible wavelengths, including the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations (SERENDIP). He is also the principal investigator for the worldwide Collaboration for Astronomy Signal Processing and Electronics Research (CASPER). SETI@home runs on software developed by BOINC at UC Berkeley.

SETI@home screensaver

6
Dan Werthimer

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

UC San Diego Campus

The University of California, San Diego (also referred to as UC San Diego or UCSD), is a public research university located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California, in the United States.[12] The university occupies 2,141 acres (866 ha) near the coast of the Pacific Ocean with the main campus resting on approximately 1,152 acres (466 ha).[13] Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego is the seventh oldest of the 10 University of California campuses and offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, enrolling about 22,700 undergraduate and 6,300 graduate students. UC San Diego is one of America’s Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. UC San Diego was ranked 8th among public universities and 37th among all universities in the United States, and rated the 18th Top World University by U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2015 rankings.

#astronomy, #basic-research, #niroseti, #seti, #uc-san-diego, #uco-lick-observatory

From UC Berkeley: “Google gives Lick Observatory $1 million”

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley

Google Inc. has given $1 million to the University of California’s Lick Observatory in what astronomers hope is the first of many private gifts to support an invaluable teaching and research resource for the state.

1
Telescope using laser guide star adaptive optics at UC’s Lick Observatory. (Laurie Hatch photo)

The unrestricted funds, spread over two years, will go toward general expenses, augmenting the $1.5 million the UC Office of the President gives annually to operate the mountaintop observatory for the 10-campus UC system.

“Lick Observatory has been making important discoveries while training generations of scientists for more than 100 years,” said Chris DiBona, director of open source for Google. “Google is proud to support their efforts in 2015 to bring hands-on astronomical experiences to students and the public.”

“This is very exciting,” said UC Berkeley astronomy professor Alex Filippenko, who has been beating the bushes for funds to operate the observatory after UC support dropped as a result of the recent recession.

“Astronomy is the ‘gateway science’ – kids are enthralled by cosmic discoveries, spectacular images, and far-out concepts, which can inspire them to pursue technical fields such as applied physics, engineering and computer science,” Filippenko said. “So there’s a real opportunity to make a difference, through the research, education and public outreach we do at Lick Observatory.”

“I am delighted that Google is supporting the Lick effort and thus helping provide UC students with unique hands-on experiences in valuable astronomy research,” said UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research Graham Fleming.

“We at UC highly value Lick Observatory’s unique capabilities,” said Claire Max, interim director of the University of California Observatories (UCO), which operates Lick, and which manages UC’s share of the twin 10-meter W. M. Keck Telescopes in Hawaii and the planned Thirty Meter Telescope that broke ground last year close to Keck on Mauna Kea. “For example, Lick’s telescopes enable science projects that need lots of repeated observations during the course of a year or more; these can be done much more successfully at Lick than at the 8−10-meter telescopes, where observing time is extremely tight. Google’s very generous gift will make it possible for Lick to provide these opportunities and to continue to develop forefront tools such as adaptive optics, which removes image blurring caused by turbulence in Earth’s atmosphere.”

“For 127 years, Lick Observatory has been vital in fundamental astronomical research, the development of new observational techniques, training students and connecting the general public to the heavens.”
– U.S. Rep. Mike Honda

Lick Observatory, located atop Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose, was established in 1888 and currently houses seven telescopes, including the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope run by Filippenko that scans the sky each night in search of exploding stars (supernovae), which help astronomers understand the accelerating expansion of the universe and dark energy.

UCO LICK Kait
KAIT

Another robotic telescope, the Automated Planet Finder, closely examines many stars each night to find planets that may be orbiting them.

UCO Lick Automated Planet Finder Telescope
APF telescope

Faculty, researchers, postdoctoral scholars and students throughout the UC system can observe remotely on the main general-use telescopes, the three-meter Shane telescope and the one-meter Nickel telescope. “These telescopes provide undergraduates with a unique opportunity to participate in substantial astronomical research,” Filippenko said. “I have about a dozen undergraduate students doing Lick research now, many more than ever before.”

Defining the cutting edge

Before the recession, Lick’s budget was about $2.5 million annually to support astronomers and students from eight of the 10 UC campuses as well as the UC-managed Department of Energy labs. Most of the first 100 planets orbiting other stars were discovered at Lick using a forefront instrument that was the best of its kind at the time. Lick observations also helped reveal the presence of giant black holes in the centers of galaxies. In part thanks to large numbers of relatively nearby supernovae found or studied at Lick, astronomers discovered and verified the accelerating expansion of the universe, a feat recognized with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the leaders of two competing teams and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to all team members.

The telescopes are used not only for original observing in the optical and infrared, but also to design and test new instruments destined for larger telescopes, such as the 10-meter Keck telescopes. For example, laser guide star adaptive optics, which allows the world’s largest telescopes to stabilize their images to improve sharpness and achieve results in some ways superior to those of the Hubble Space Telescope, was pioneered at Lick.

“At this time, UC is providing basic support at $1.5 million per year, but we really need at least $2.5 million per year to improve the observatory, moving forward vigorously at the cutting edge of research and education. To maintain and expand Lick in the long run, we seek an endowment of about $50 million,” Filippenko said. The interest on that endowment would be used to provide annual operating funds. “This major award from Google should go far, giving us time to raise additional funds.”

“I was delighted to learn of this wonderful gift from Google,” said Aimée Dorr, UC provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “It will do great things for the astronomical research and education that can be carried out at Lick Observatory. Congratulations to Professor Filippenko, who knows firsthand how valuable Lick is and has dedicated his considerable energy and expertise to ensuring it is available far into the future.”

2
Alex Filippenko with his Katzman Automated integrating Telescope at Lick Observatory

“I’m pleased that this generous award will help Lick Observatory keep its doors open to the public, to future astronomers and to the scientific community in a capacity that is simply unavailable anywhere else,” said U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who previously spearheaded two letters of congressional support for Lick to the UC Office of the President. “Lick is an historic Santa Clara County landmark, and the facility has proven invaluable for students, researchers and the Bay Area community. I hope this is the beginning of many gifts recognizing Lick Observatory’s important role in inspiring future scientists and adding to our understanding of what lies beyond our solar system.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, a longtime supporter and advocate for the observatory, added, “I am delighted that Google has decided to give $1 million to Lick Observatory. For 127 years, Lick Observatory has been vital in fundamental astronomical research, the development of new observational techniques, training students and connecting the general public to the heavens. I am pleased to see private companies step up and invest in America’s scientific leadership. I look forward to others joining Google to ensure that Lick Observatory will continue to explore the universe for years to come.”

“Lick Observatory has provided critical data for University of California researchers, and Google’s major support will ensure that the observatory will continue to serve as the foundation for countless scientific discoveries to come,” said state Assemblymember Mark Stone.

One of the first uses for the money, which comes through the UC Berkeley Foundation, will be to hire another telescope operator for the Shane three-meter telescope to eliminate periodic closures caused by the current shortage of staff, Filippenko said.

UCO Lick Shane Telescope
UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
Shane

Interim UCO director Max said that another probable use of the funds will be to continue the development of laser guide star adaptive optics, which is breaking new ground at Lick Observatory.

Lick also recently received $350,000 in combined grants from the Heising-Simons Foundation and donors Bill and Marina Kast to enable an upgrade of the Kast spectrograph on the three-meter telescope, used to analyze faint celestial objects – including supernovae – at distances ranging from our own solar system to the far reaches of the universe.

“Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars can be leaders of research done at Lick,” Filippenko said. ”They conceive, propose, execute and complete their own projects, thereby adding immensely to their development as strong, skilled, independent research scientists. We have to keep this unique research and educational institution, a Bay Area treasure and California landmark, thriving.”

See the full article here.

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

STEM Icon

Stem Education Coalition

Founded in the wake of the gold rush by leaders of the newly established 31st state, the University of California’s flagship campus at Berkeley has become one of the preeminent universities in the world. Its early guiding lights, charged with providing education (both “practical” and “classical”) for the state’s people, gradually established a distinguished faculty (with 22 Nobel laureates to date), a stellar research library, and more than 350 academic programs.

UC Berkeley Seal

#astronomy, #basic-research, #uc-berkeley, #uco-lick-observatory