The Department of Astronomy is dedicated to the study of heavenly bodies.
The department has research facilities with the Washburn Observatory, the Pine Bluff Observatory and WIYN Observatory as well as many outreach and service commitments around the state and nation.
As the shapes of galaxies go, the spiral disk — with its characteristic pinwheel profile — is by far the most pedestrian. Our own Milky Way, astronomers believe, is a spiral. Our solar system and Earth reside somewhere near one of its filamentous, swept-back arms. And nearly 70 percent of the galaxies closest to the [...]
Three faculty members from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Letters & Science are among 126 scientists from around the country who have been awarded prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships. Elena D’Onghia, assistant professor of astronomy, Christopher Ré, assistant professor of computer sciences, and Jennifer Schomaker, assistant professor of chemistry, will receive two-year, $50,000 grants from [...]
Four researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Letters & Science are among about 250 newly named fellows of the American Physical Society, an honor bestowed upon no more than half of one percent of the professional society’s membership. The peer-awarded designation is given in recognition of significant research advances or innovative contributions in the [...]
Robert Mathieu, an astronomy professor currently on sabbatical, was on the Faculty Senate’s University Committee in 2008 when he and Chair Ann Hoyt led the Faculty-Staff Great People Scholarship Campaign. Faculty and staff members helped kick-start the Great People effort, generating more than $2 million in gifts and matches from the UW Credit Union and [...]
“I want to blow your mind, take you places you have never seen before. Do not hesitate to ask question. I will not bite.” Paul Sell is equal parts carnival barker and enthusiastic graduate student as he discusses the size of the universe. As the twilight deepens at the amphitheater at Devil’s Lake State Park, [...]
After a journey of some 535 million space miles, give or take, and years languishing in a cavernous government warehouse, one of the original scientific instruments aboard the Hubble Space Telescope has splashed down in Wisconsin. The High Speed Photometer, or HSP, was one of five interchangeable instruments aboard the telescope when it first soared [...]
Bit by bit over the last two decades, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s iconic Washburn Observatory has been restored to its original sheen. The dome was refurbished in the 1990s and the building itself was restored and updated in 2009. And this week, a final but crucial touch up — the cleaning and refurbishment of the [...]
UW scientists hope to unlock cosmic secrets with dynamo experiment (Wisconsin State Journal) Featuring Physics Professor, Cary Forest, who is helping direct the Madison Plasma Dynamo Experiment. Read More…
Professor Robert Mathieu (Astronomy) was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and was joined in the honor by UW-Madison Professors Richard Amasino (Biochemistry) and John Denu (Biomolecular Chemistry). Mathieu was honored for his fundamental research on star clusters, binaries, and star-forming regions; for community service and leadership of the [...]
Astrophysicist Explores Our Turbulent Universe (LiveScience, ScienceLives) Blakesley Burkhart is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Burkhart and her advisor, Alex Lazarian also of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, study the dynamics of gasses in the interstellar medium. More often than not, this gas is highly turbulent and [...]
The space between the stars in the Milky Way and all other galaxies is full of dust and gas, the raw materials from which stars and planets are made. But the dynamics of these galactic mosh pits, which are perhaps best known through the spectacular images from the Hubble Space Telescope of towering nebulas caught in the act of churning out stars, are still mysterious.
Various departments and programs in the College of Letters & Science are gearing up for the first-ever Wisconsin Science Festival as a way to usher in the Year of Science …
In Search of Habitable Worlds: The Older the Planet, the Greater Chance There’s Life (TIME) To date, the Kepler space telescope has found more than 1,200 likely planets orbiting stars beyond the sun — quite a haul for a satellite that’s been flying for just over two years. Featuring UW-Madison alum Soren Meibom (MS’01, Ph’D [...]
The Department of Astronomy will welcome Dr. Alyson Brooks as its first Grainger Post-Doctoral Fellow this fall. Brooks is a theoretical astrophysicist whose interests include galaxy formation and evolution, galactic structure, galactic chemical evolution, stellar abundances, and cosmological N-Body+SPH simulations of galaxies.
As a young graduate student with a passion for surfing, Andy Sheinis soaked up a lot of California sun. But because of his youthful pursuit, Sheinis, now a UW-Madison professor of astronomy, is at high risk for melanoma, skin cancer that can turn deadly if not detected and treated in its earliest stages …
The Star Tracker 5000, a rocket guidance device, has flown again. This device is licensed by NASA and was developed exclusively by the UW-Madison Department of Astronomy’s Space Astronomy Laboratory.
Cloudy skies didn’t keep New Year’s Eve revelers from viewing planets, nebulas, and galaxies. It was all part of an astronomy outreach exhibit “From Earth to the Universe” on display at Monona Terrace for the annual US Bank Eve celebration.
Winter is gearing up in Madison but some faculty and staff in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics are looking forward to Summer 2011. This summer will mark the 10th consecutive year of a unique program that gives undergraduates a hands-on experience with physics and astronomy. The program — known as a Research Experience for [...]
Former UW students awarded Lancelot Berkeley Prize in astronomy (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) William J. Borucki (BS’60, MS’62, Physics) and David G. Koch (BS’67, Applied Math, Engineering and Physics) who hold leadership positions with the Kepler space mission, were joint recipients of the first Lancelot M. Berkeley-New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy.
Dr. Andy Sheinis, an assistant professor in Astronomy, has a saying, “Every proposal happens by design. In reality, discovery happens by accident.”
Now this is a Wisconsin Idea: Greg Jaehnig (BS’08, Physics & Astronomy) has brought a little piece of Wisconsin and the stars to students in Oshikuku, Namibia …
Continuing the annual tradition, a team of L&S professors, instructors and staff helped a new class of Badgers graduate from Grandparents University (GPU). GPU is a two day workshop for UW-Madison alumni and their grandchildren to sign up for majors and take classes on campus.
The newly renovated and restored Washburn Observatory won a Madison Trust for Historic Preservation 2010 Award in the category of Civic Rehabilitation. The observatory, built 1878, was rehabilitated for modern office use and is now the home of the L&S Honors Program.
What do local educators in Wisconsin, UW-Madison astronomers and telescopes in Kitt Peak, Arizona have in common? The Wisconsin Idea in Action …
Members of the Department of Astronomy Board of Visitors, accompanied by astronomy faculty and UW Foundation staff, traveled to the Kennedy Space Flight Center to see the final launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on May 14…
Astronomers sometimes need to use telescopes that are in space because the Earth’s atmosphere blocks ultraviolet and X-ray light. NASA’s sounding rocket program sponsors astronomers and graduate students to build telescopes that can be launched into short (15 minute) sub-orbital flights that generate enough data for Ph.D. dissertations.
Ryan Keenan, a graduate student of the Department of Astronomy was recently awarded a Fulbright fellowship to spend a year doing astronomy research in Chile beginning in March 2011.
In January 2010, the Astronomy Department and UW Space Placecollaborated with the UW Center For Global Health in a service learning trip to Wisconsin’s sister state of Jalisco, Mexico.
A number of Letters & Sciences departments are programs have started Twittering.
Astronomers sometimes need to use telescopes that are in space because the Earth’s atmosphere blocks ultraviolet and X-ray light.
On October 23, 2009, Biocore Outreach Ambassador (BOA) undergraduates teamed up with the Baldwin-funded Mazomanie Science Outreach Outpost (MOO) to sponsor a ‘Family Fun Science Night’…
Assistant Professors Snezana Stanimirovic (Astronomy) and Robert McDermott (Physics) have individually been named 2009 Cottrell Scholars by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.
An overflow crowd filled American Players Touchstone Theater on the evening of July 20 for a unique event combining history of astronomy, an entertaining play about Galileo and his daughter, and live music from Galileo’s own family and era.
Astronomy Department members recently extended the joy of discovery and learning afforded by UW’s WIYN 0.9-meter telescope…
The Department of Astronomy has been approved to extend the “Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire” or GLIMPSE imaging survey of the Galaxy using the Spitzer Space Telescope.
The International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009 celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo recording his first observations through a telescope.
Student astrophotography was featured in the Badger Herald student newspaper this May.
In March, the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM) completed a two-month journey to Cerro Tololo in the foothills of the Chilean Andes.