Celebrations under the dome
Yerkes Observatory, dedicated on Oct. 21, 1897, is celebrating its centennial throughout the year. Here is a sampling of events that are planned through July -- check the Yerkes Observatory site on the Web (astro.uchicago.edu/Yerkes.html) for updated information.
View Comet Hale-Bopp, March 25-28
Yerkes Observatory will host public viewing of Comet Hale-Bopp every evening from Tuesday, March 25, through Friday, March 28, between 7:30 and 9 p.m. on the grounds of the observatory. The program is free and open to the public, and reservations are not necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars. For more information, call (414) 2455555.
Virtual museum coming in April
A virtual museum, with historical details of the lives of the founders and early astronomers at Yerkes Observatory, will debut on the World Wide Web in April. The site will include such stories as how a keen wintertime observer froze his face to the eyepiece of Yerkes' 40-inch refractor; how an astronomer built his house with comets; and how the observatory's telescope was saved from a fire at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Watch the Yerkes Observatory Web site (astro.uchicago.edu/Yerkes.html) for the museum's debut.
Amateurs use the great refractor, May 26-31
Amateur astronomer groups have been invited to submit observing proposals for the 40-inch refractor at Yerkes during the week of May 26-31. Since this telescope is still an important research tool, it is normally not open for public viewing, but in honor of the centennial and because of the telescope's rich history in visual observing, members of astronomy societies are invited to peer through the eyepiece. Yerkes staff will assist each group in the dome. Proposals are due April 20.
Reunion for Astronomy & Astrophysics, June 28
Astronomy & Astrophysics alumni as well as current and former faculty, staff and students are invited to a reunion at the observatory on Saturday, June 28. The event will be an informal gathering that will include a pig roast -- a Yerkes summer tradition. The event coincides with the annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the largest general astronomy organization in the world. This year's meeting is being held in Chicago.
Astronomical Society of the Pacific tours, June 30 & July 1
During the 109th annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific -- a conference that draws amateur and professional astronomers, teachers and enthusiasts from all over the world -- day and evening tours for conference participants of the observatory will be offered on Monday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 1. For more information on the meeting, which is co-hosted by the University of Chicago and the Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica, see the society's Web site (www.aspsky.org).