Yerkes LionYerkes Lion YERKES OBSERVATORY
The University of Chicago

373 W. Geneva St, Williams Bay WI 53191 (Latitude 42 34.2, Longitude -88 33.4)
Dome structure

The birthplace of modern astrophysics
Yerkes Observatory is a facility of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Chicago. It was established in 1897 on Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. Until the mid-1960's, Yerkes Observatory housed all of the Department's activities. Today the 77-acre, park-like site in southeast Wisconsin provides laboratory space and access to telescopes for research and instruction.
Yerkes Observatory occupies a unique niche for the educational and the scientific community. It bridges several important perspectives in formal and informal education. The history of astronomy and astrophysics of the observatory is a solid foundation for introducing all the important topics in current research as well as the practice of observational astronomy. There is a huge range of opportunities for learning. Because of Yerkes' historical context, the world of professional and student astronomers and astronomy educators is drawn to the observatory. These communities learn from one another, build relationships, and create programs, which result in enriched experiences and learning opportunities for young and diverse members of our society.

Yerkes Observatory is open for free public tours  every Saturday throughout the year. We also offer group tours and special programs.

Upcoming Events

  • Labor Day Weekend Tour Schedule at Yerkes Observatory

    For fastest response to questions about our tour programs during the holiday weekend please email us at tours@yerkes.uchicago.edu

    Friday, September 4: Tours lasting 45 minutes at 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm. $8 per person age 10 and up. Plan to arrive about 5 minutes before your selected tour time. A tour guide will greet you at the door on the hour. Private tours for small groups can be arranged after 4:00 pm by emailing tours@yerkes.uchicago.edu

    Saturday, September 5: tours lasting approximately 45 minutes at 10:15 am, 11:15 am and 12:15 pm. $8 donation suggested per person for ages 10 and up. The building opens at 9:45 am and closes at 1:30 pm. Private tours for small groups can be arranged after 2:00 pm by emailing tours@yerkes.uchicago.edu

    Sunday, September 6: No tours are scheduled. Private tours for small groups can be arranged between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm by emailing tours@yerkes.uchicago.edu

    Monday, September 7: Tours lasting 45 minutes at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm. $8 per person age 10 and up. Plan to arrive about 5 minutes before your selected tour time. A tour guide will greet you at the door on the hour. Private tours for small groups can be arranged after 3:00 pm by emailingtours@yerkes.uchicago.edu

  • Regular Saturday Tours
    Yerkes Observatory is open to the public from 9:45 am to 1:30pm every Saturday throughout the year. Guided tours begin at 10:15am, 11:15am and 12:15pm.

    For more information, click here
  • Weekday Tours
    Visitors may tour Yerkes Observatory most weekday mornings or afternoons.

    For types of tours, pricing and more info click here
  • Observe through a Big Telescope
    Throughout the year, weather permitting, Yerkes Observatory offers evening observing sessions for adults and kids aged twelve and up. Participants look at a variety of fascinating celestial objects through a large, modern 24-inch diameter telescope....

    For more inormation, more...
  • International Observe the Moon Night, September 19
    One day each year, everyone on Earth is invited to join in on a celebration of the Moon, our closest neighbor on space.Yerkes Observatory is holding an evening Star Party on September 19, form 7:00 to 9:00pm. For more information and to sign up

    To learn more about this event and sign up, click here
  • Total Lunar Eclipse of the Moon, Sunday, September 27
    Join us for the Total Lunar Eclipse of the Moon, Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 7:00 to 10:00pm, at the Yerkes Observatory.

    To learn more about this event and register, click here
  • 2015 Yerkes Astrophysics Academy for Young Scientists (YAAYS) Camps
    Every year, Yerkes Observatory scientists and educators offer a variety of summer camps revolving around STEM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The aim of Yerkes Observatory summer camps is to involve students in STEM based exploration to build a sense of confidence solving problems using the practices of science and engineering in an atmosphere that is active, engaging, and fun.

    For more info and applications, click here

The education programs are made possible in part through SOFIA Outreach at Yerkes Observatory.

University of Chicago Press release: Middle schoolers to explore sky with robotic telescopes

Yerkes Study Group (YSG)
The Yerkes Study Group was formed to explore the best use of Yerkes Observatory as a future site for a regional center for science education. To download the final report (pdf file) of the YSG click here
 
Yerkes Obs