News & AnalysisAstronomy

Lick Observatory in Trouble as Austerity Starts to Bite

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Science  13 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6164, pp. 1299-1300
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6164.1299

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The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure. Astronomers there say the University of California, which funds the observatory, has slashed its budget to fund other projects and has issued a report recommending converting Lick to a public museum. Lick's supporters say the observatory has made key contributions to the development of new scientific instruments and to recent research, such as discovering new extrasolar planets. But the panel that recommended the changes says the moves are necessary to support other projects such as the W. M. Keck Observatory and the planned Thirty Meter Telescope.