Set your GPS to 1401 Observatory Dr. and get ready to take in Madison’s natural beauty beyond the hustle of the city. Part of the University of Wisconsin’s astronomy department, public viewing is available at the just-updated dome. The Washburn Observatory is open the first and third Wednesday of the month (weather permitting). Here, you’ll also find free sessions hosted by the astronomy graduate students.
There are no formal lectures or tours. However, there are complimentary public observing opportunities offered via the Universe in the Park Program and UW Space Place. All updates are posted on Twitter. Keep in mind that the dome is open-aired, so dress accordingly. There is no flash photography, food or drinks allowed in the dome.
Space Place is the public outreach and education hub of the department. Since UW has been a leader in astronomical research for more than 100 years, it’s become a center for the brightest minds to gather and learn, talk and think about space research. The new center opened in the renovated Ponderosa Steak House in 1990.
Since then, Space Place has become a thriving education center. It moved once again in 2005 to a customized facility located in The Villager. Here, there are exhibits, classrooms, lecture halls and a separate roof top viewing deck. You’ll find presentations and over 100 public programs offered every year to 10,000+ attendees.
How’s the air up there? Come to UW and find out.