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.

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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.

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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.

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