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.
Regular Saturday Tours
Yerkes Observatory is open for free public tours every Saturday throughout the year. Programs begin at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and Noon. We will be open for regular Saturday tours December 27 and January 3. Occasional repairs to the exterior of Yerkes Observatory from Spring through Fall of 2014 are not expected to interfere with weekday or Saturday tours.
New Weekday Tours
Tuesdays through Fridays, we offer daytime tours similar to those on Saturday, between 9:30 and Noon and 1:30 and 5:00 p.m. 30-minute tours for up to five people are $25, plus $5 per additional person. One-hour tours are $100. For information, or to schedule a tour, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 262-245-5555, extension 880. Be certain to include your cell telephone number and email address.
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....
Family Night Programs
Yerkes Observatory is offering Family Night Prograsm for students, with a parent, in grades 3-8. The program will run after school at Yerkes Observatory from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.
- Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - SOFIA with Sarah Scoles
- Monday, April 14, 2014 - Planet Searches and Imagining Aliens!
To learn more about these events and sign up, click here
Yerkes Public Star Party
Register for our Public Star Party on March 8th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.
See Jupiter, its moons, and learn the winter constellations. See many deep sky objects through telescopes. This star party will happen if skies are clear or cloudy. There will be indoor activities if the sky is cloudy. Activities are designed for school age children accompanied by a parent or teacher.
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