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Google Donates $1 Million To Lick Observatory Atop Mount Hamilton

SAN JOSE (CSB SF/AP) -- Google has donated $1 million to a 125-year-old Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton that has long been in need of financial support.

The Mercury News reported Monday that the gift will pay day-to-day operating expenses of the historic research observatory.

Some of the money will be used to hire another operator for the Shane three-meter telescope, which periodically closes due to staff shortages.

Google's donation represents about one-quarter of the observatory's annual budget, augmenting the $1.5 million the University of California gives each year.

Lick was established in 1888 and is used by astronomers and students to conduct research and test next-generation technologies. Its astronomers have discovered asteroids, moons of Jupiter and planets outside our solar system.

The observatory has had financial issues for some time; it has struggled to stay open and pay for new equipment. In 2103 UC announced would reduce funding for Lick starting in 2016, with a complete cutoff after 2018.

While later reversing that decision, the observatory's budget remains is tight and relies on much of its financial support from UC and other donors.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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