The University of Chicago

373 W. Geneva St, Williams Bay WI 53191 (Latitude 42 34.2, Longitude -88 33.4)
Look Through a Large Telescope at the Moon, Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Clusters and More at Yerkes Observatory!

From season to season the evening sky changes slowly and reveals many different celestial wonders visible with, and without, optical aid. Every month during the year, on select weekday and weekend evenings, Yerkes Observatory offers observing sessions with our 24-inch diameter reflecting telescope, weather permitting, for participants who are age 10 and up.

We are accepting reservations for these December evenings:

December 25th and 29th.
Programs begin at 6:45 pm. Please plan to arrive at the Observatory between 6:15 and 6:30 pm.

December 31st.
The 6:45 pm program is sold out but a late program beginning at 9:15pm has been added.
Please plan to arrive at the Observatory between 9:00 and 9:15.
Join us to ring in 2015 at Yerkes!

Public observing events at Yerkes are very popular and sell out quickly. Space on each tour is limited and subject to availability. Sessions last approximately two hours. Scheduled sessions can be canceled due to adverse weather conditions (clouds, rain or snow, or high winds) and in rare circumstances, Observatory event conflicts that arise after public observing dates have been announced.

The cost to participate is $30 per person, payable the evening of the event by cash, VISA or Mastercard. Reservations are required and can be made by email only at

When requesting reservations, include an email address that can be accessed the day of the event, a cell phone number of the group organizer, and the number of people in the party. An Observatory representative will send a reply that includes additional information and instructions pertinent to your visit. Please email questions with your reservation request also.

Scheduled event dates are removed from the above listings as quickly as possible after each sells out. We usually do not schedule public viewing for several evenings before and several evenings after full moon due to excessive sky brightness. Full moon in December occurs on the 6th.

Public observing dates for January 2015 will be posted here about December 25th.

Participants must be physically fit and able to climb 40 steep, winding stairs from the ground floor of the building to the observing dome of the 24-inch reflector. Sensible shoes are required (no high heels, flip flops, open-toed sandals, etc.). Plan to dress for cold winter temperatures as the dome is not heated.

During winter evenings from the dark sky environment at Yerkes you may see superb views of planets, constellations, hundreds of stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, an occasional meteor and artificial satellites. Binoculars can enhance your viewing experience, but are not necessary

For information about regularly scheduled Saturday tours, weekday tours, and other events, please click here.