Bell Burnell Observatory
Photo Credit: Cheryl Schumacher
The Bell Burnell Observatory is located on the Promega campus in Fitchburg, WI. The observatory first opened in 1882 as the Student Observatory on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1960, the building was moved to its current location, where it served as a home for the Madison Astronomical Society for 25 years. Today, the fully renovated observatory is one of the oldest operational observatories in the United States.
Now the Bell Burnell Observatory, this historic facility is a home for students once again. Educational programs hosted by the BTC Institute will give stargazers of all ages a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience with modern observational tools. These programs are supported by a dedicated education fund established by Bill Linton and Dargar Bjorksten.
Learn more about the Bell Burnell Observatory’s history and current activities: Bell Burnell Observatory Key Points
ABOUT DR. JOCELYN BELL BURNELL
Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astronomer best known for discovering the rapidly spinning neutron stars later named “pulsars” while she was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge. She has shown a lifelong commitment to supporting women and other marginalized groups in astronomy. Throughout her long career, she championed the belief that anyone can make the next big discovery, and it is this belief that drives the mission of the Bell Burnell Observatory.
TOURS, educational Programs & research projects
The Bell Burnell Observatory is open for group visits, as scheduled and staffed though the BTC Institute: PLAN YOUR VISIT
Educational programs are currently being developed for 6 – 12 grade students and the general public. For example, middle school students participating in A Celebration of Life XXVII: Planetary Explorers! had a great session at the observatory in June. Check out the photos from their visit and read about what they learned! Looking for this type of experience? Share your interests with us: PLAN YOUR VISIT
Bob Aloisi, a graduate student in the Department of Astronomy at UW-Madison, is currently conducting research related to exoplanets with a team of undergraduate majors. Their work is supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium. Sound interesting? Follow Bob’s Blog…
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bell burnell observatory news
- This winter we welcomed members of the Middleton High School Astronomy Club, who toured the observatory and were able to garner some great views of the Moon!
- On February 1st, 2023, we hosted a small group of prospective volunteers from Promega who are interested in training to use the telescope at Bell Burnell Observatory. This will allow the BTC Institute to increase our capacity for hosting programming in the future. Attendees were able to view comet C2022/E3, the horsehead nebula, Jupiter, and the Moon (PHOTOS).
- Bob Aloisi’s undergraduate astronomy group continues their explorations and were also able to gather on February 2, 2023 to view comet C2022/E3 in addition to their usual work with exoplanets.
Naming dedication of the bell burnell observatory
We were so honored to have Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell join us for the Astronomers’ Day: Panel Discussion and Naming Dedication of the Bell Burnell Observatory on September 6th and 7th, 2022. It was a packed two days of astronomy. So much was shared – from technical discussion to advice regarding ways students can confidently continue their chosen paths. The importance of engaging in outreach efforts that encourage the next generation of astronomers, of informed and thoughtful citizens was emphasized throughout our time together. Thank you Dr. Bell Burnell!
ASTRONOMERS’ DAY: PANEL DISCUSSION – September 6, 2022
WATCH NOWPanelists: Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell; Edward Churchwell, Albert E. Whitford Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy, UW-Madison; Snezana Stanimirovic, Professor, Department of Astronomy, UW-Madison; Sarah Vigeland, Assistant Professor, Physics, University of Wisconsin – MilwaukeeModerator: Will Jarvis, Astronomy/Physics Major, University of Wisconsin – Madison