August 23, 2019

8:00 p.m.

Dr.Vivian U, UC Irvine

"Monster Black Holes in the Heart of Galaxies"

Dr. Vivian U is an observational astronomer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 2006, and then her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2012. She was a recipient of the NASA-Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Predoctoral Fellowship, and the University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Dr. U studies nearby galaxies and their supermassive black holes using primarily optical and near-infrared instrumentation with adaptive optics at the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton and the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. She specializes in studying how supermassive black holes grow and interact with their immediate surroundings, particularly in nearby active or merging galaxies. She has extensive experience observing on most of the telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum on Mauna Kea as a graduate student in Hawaii, and is currently leading the 100-night Lick AGN Monitoring Campaign that uses the 3-m Shane Telescope to measure black hole masses.

Program Information

7:00 p.m. Doors Open Brief Telescope Visits
8:00 p.m. Science Talk, Lecture Hall History Talk, Great Refractor Telescope Dome    
9:00 p.m. Science Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall     Telescope Viewings
10:00 p.m.     History Talk (repeated), Lecture Hall Telescope Viewings
12:30 a.m. Doors Close


Ticket Information

General admission: $ 25.00 per person (ages 8 and older).
Tickets are non-refundable. Limit of four tickets per customer. Please be advised that unpredictable weather patterns may restrict telescope viewings, though lectures and other activities will still take place. Due to safety regulations and the nature of the event, children under age 8 are not allowed at this event, and it may be unsuitable for children under the age of 12 due to late hours.

Join Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) and Get Tickets Early
If you'd like to purchase tickets as early as noon on April 10th, 2019, join our Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) program by April 1st, 2019. As a thank you for supporting the observatory, you'll get special access to purchase tickets before they go on sale for the general public on April 17th at noon at

Driving to Lick Observatory
Please allow a one-hour drive from San Jose. The road is good, but windy. The event typically lasts between 4 and 6 hours; prepare to drive home late in the evening. There are no automative services or gas stations for 20 miles, so please plan ahead. See more information on driving directions and parking here.

Recommended Attire
Casual, comfortable clothing and walking shoes. A sweater or light coat is recommended.

Please be careful when walking around in the dark outside; bringing a flashlight is recommended. Children under age 8 are not allowed at this event, and it may be unsuitable for children under the age of 12 due to late hours.

The large telescopes will be available for viewing as soon as the sky is dark. Telescopes will remain open until every guest has had an opportunity to see through both the 36-inch Great Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope.

In order to view through the telescopes, guests will receive a numbered pass at the door. Guests with the lowest telescope numbers are admitted to the telescopes first - so we recommend getting to the observatory early! Please note: Due to historic construction of the telescope domes, the 36-inch Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope are not wheelchair accessible at this time.

Volunteer amateur astronomers also set up ground telescopes in the back parking so guests can view additional cosmic objects.

Gift Shop
Lick Observatory souvenirs and astronomy merchandise will be available for purchase between 7:00 to 11:30 p.m. You can also visit our Gift Shop online 24/7.

Snacks and beverages will be available near the Nickel Telescope. Vending machines and fountain water are also available.

We strive to make your visit as complete and meaningful as possible. Please let us know if you will need special assistance (for example, if you will have difficulty climbing stairs), so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Map Lick Observatory

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