It was announced on Monday by the University of California that Google donated $1 million to Lick Observatory, the historic astronomy site that over a year ago was threatened by the University of California with budget cuts. The Lick Observatory can relax now, because Google has just donated a cool $1 million to keep its telescopes operating.
The Lick Observatory is an astronomical observatory that is operated and owned by the University of California. Located on the top of Mount Hamilton in California, the observatory has been making an effort to raise money. Alex Filippenko, astrophysicist at the University of California, said that the donation marks the start of the Observatory’s effort to create a $50 million permanent endowment for the Lick Observatory. Filippenko has been in charge of the fundraising for the observatory for the past year.
The Lick Observatory has seven high tech telescopes and it is used for research and teaching by scientists from eight University of California campuses. When the University leaders said in 2014 that they would end the Lick Observatory’s annual $1.5 million funding within five years, the fundraising begun.
When the UC threat was issued towards the Lick Observatory, protests sparks all over the UC campuses. More than a dozen of California’s congressional delegation backed up by Rep. Zoe Lofgren urged her colleagues to make an appeal to Janet Napolitano, UC President.
The appeals were successful and the University withdrew its threat to the Lick Observatory. Over the past year Lick has received around $1.3 million in University of California funds. Before the recession, the Observatory received $2.5 million a year.
On Monday it was revealed by Filippenko that Google donated $1 million dollars to Lick Observatory. He said that the Observatory needs around $2.5 million a year to operate and improve its facilities.
We hope this gift from Google will start to open corporate doors and jump-start a major campaign for the observatory to become as self-sustaining as possible. The observatory is a major resource — not only for the advanced research we astronomers do there, but for exciting young people about science and technology.
UC Provost Aimee Dorr who was the person who issued the funding-cut order in 2014 said that the gift from Google was wonderful and that it would do great things for the education and research that will continue to happen at the Lick Observatory.
Image Source: Lick Observatory
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