The Theodor Jacobsen Observatory is the second-oldest structure on the campus. Built in 1895, the Observatory with its 126-year old, 6-inch refracting telescope is still offering celestial views of the wonders of the Universe. Here you will find information on opened nights, making reservations, a history of the telescope, a history of astronomy at the UW, and even an operating manual for the telescope. Come join us in a tour; there is no charge to learn about and view the night sky!
TJO Evening Public Talks
The majority of the talks of the open house season are given by undergraduates at the University of Washington, individuals who are either majoring in physics and astronomy or are in other majors but really enthusiastic about astronomy. The level of the talks varies with the topic. Some are geared more to the younger visitors; most are geared for high school level. Please come and lend your support. By being in the audience you will be taking part in the educational program at the UW.
The talks on a given evening start approximately 5 minutes after opening and take place in the classroom that adjoins the Observatory. If the sky is clear enough, the dome will be open for viewing celestial objects through the ancient telescope. Reservations are strongly recommended for the talks, and visitors with reservations have priority viewing in the dome after the talks finish; no reservations are needed to tour the Observatory and take part in the exhibits, activities, and viewing through telescopes available on the Observatory grounds.
2019 Observing Season and Open Houses at Jacobsen Observatory
|Month||1st Tues||3rd Tues||Hours|
|April||2||16||8 – 10 pm|
|May||7||21||9 – 11 pm|
|June||4||18||9 – 11 pm|
|July||2||16||9 – 11 pm|
|August||6||20||9 – 11 pm|
|September||3||17||8 – 10 pm|
TOPICS WILL BE POSTED IN SPRING 2019!
The topics and abstracts for the 2019 observing season are listed below. These talks generally last between 40 and 50 minutes, giving us plenty of time to view celestial objects if the night skies are at all clear.
April 2 – 8:00 pm: TBA
April 16 – 8:00 pm: TBA
May 7 – 9:00 pm: TBA
May 21 – 9:00 pm: TBA
June 4 – 9:00 pm: TBA
June 18 – 9:00 pm: TBA
July 2 – 9:00 pm: TBA
July 16 – 9:00 pm: TBA
August 6 – 9:00 pm: TBA
August 20 – 9:00 pm: TBA
September 3 – 8:00 pm: TBA
September 17 – 8:00 pm: TBA
We apologize for not being able to accommodate everyone who wants to visit the Observatory and take part in the talks given by UW undergraduates. The classroom holds only 45 people; the dome that houses the 1892 refracting telescope can have a maximum of 12 adults at a time; children – while always extremely important to us – aren’t counted in this limit, and usually get the first opportunity to view through the telescope. Visits to the dome and discussions with Seattle Astronomical Society members last about 10-15 minutes. “Tickets” (which are free) to visit the dome are distributed during the start of each open house.
Seattle Astronomical Society members operate the ancient refracting telescope in the dome and can find fascinating treasures of the night sky. Their members are an endless source of information and enthusiasm about astronomy.
Reservations are strongly recommended for the talks as the TJO classroom holds only 45 people. Those with reservations have priority viewing for the dome. While all are welcome to visit without reservations, please note that only the activities and the smaller telescopes set up in the Observatory grounds will be available. Usually for the July through September open houses, those without reservations do not get to visit the dome until close to closing time.
We are currently taking reservations through email only: email@example.com Be sure to include the date you would like to attend and how many people will be joining you. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate visits outside of the regular nights during our observing season, April through September. No reservations are possible for October through March.
Special Group & School Reservations
We are especially glad to welcome adult recreation groups, students with special needs, K-12 classes, and home-schooling groups (and more) to the Observatory. We can work with the supervisors/leaders/teachers on topics that they would like presented. We also have a wide variety of activities that we could include in the evening’s program. We are currently taking reservations through email only: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to include the date you would like to attend and how many people will be joining you. The maximum number of visitors in the group or class is 45. If there are any special arrangements needed, also include that in your email. The classroom and all of the first floor of the Observatory are accessible; the dome (built in 1895) is not.
We are located at the north end of the University of Washington campus, just east of the Burke Museum, at the intersection of NE 45th Street and Memorial Way (17th Avenue NE). If you are coming from:
- Eastside: Take 520 W to Montlake Exit. Left at 2nd light (on to Pacific). Come to 15th Avenue NE and make a right. The Physics/Astronomy building is on the corner, but this is NOT where you want to go. Continue up 15th Avenue NE until NE 45th Street. Take a right and continue east. You will see the Burke Museum on your right. Take a right at the next intersection. You will be going south on Memorial Way. If the parking gates are open (Gate 2), you will need to stop and get a permit. Lots N1 and N5 are the closest to the Observatory.
- North or South: I-5 to NE 45th Street exit (University of Washington). Take NE 45th Street East until you see the Burke Museum on your right. Take a right at the next intersection. You will be going south on Memorial Way. If the parking gates are open (Gate 2), you will need to stop and get a permit. Lots N1 and N5 are the closest to the Observatory.
The University of Washington has lots of information on parking on campus for school and other bus transportation. Please visit the UW Parking Services web site for complete instructions and contact/permit information. If you are coming by car or car pool and it is earlier than 9 pm, then you will need to check in with the gate keepers at the north entrance (Gate 2) to the U of W campus for a permit and directions.
Theodor Jacobsen Observatory Newsletter
The Theodor Jacobsen Observatory Newsletter comes out roughly once per year and contains articles written by undergraduates at the University of Washington.
- Table of Contents
- Juno has arrived! by Simon Schneider
- Sagittarius A* Selfies…? by Daven Cocroft
- Don’t Judge a Star by its Cover by Adriana Gomez-Buckley
- The Cosmic Snake by Karalyn Ostler
- A New Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy by Courtney Klein
- Table of Contents – Fall 2017 Newsletter
- Lunar Photobomb By Christina Lindberg ……….. Pg. 2
- The Universe Is Hissing At Us By Locke Patton ………………… Pg. 3
- The Powerhouse of the Solar System By Kobe Ryan……………………. Pg. 5
- Putting the Sci in Sci-Fi By Nicholas Saunders ………… Pg. 7
- Playing God By Danielle Skinner …………… Pg. 10
- Cannonball! Cassini’s Last Dive By Mallory Thorp………………. Pg. 12
- Something Might Be Brewing By Guadalupe Tovar ………….. Pg. 15
- The Funny Page Student Cartoon………………… Pg. 17
- Table of Contents
- Caveman to Spaceman by Jordyn Marxen
- What’s the BIG Deal with Data? by Tristan Hillis
- Juno-Uncovering the Secrets of Jupiter by Matt Armstrong
- Are Cool Stars Popular? Better Ask Sol by Tessa Wilkinson
- Death by Magnetic Field: the Story of Mars’ Atmosphere by Xinyu Hugjil Shi
- Hello, Is Anyone Out There? by David Bordenave
- Put a Ring on It by Dylan Chase-Woods
- Igniting a Standard Candle by Donald Serna-Grey
- 8 Planets Soon to be 21? by Ryan Wagner
- The Little Guy Pulls Ahead: M Dwarfs and Exoplanets by Jessica Shank
- One of the Heaven’s Most Spectacular Deaths: Planetary Nebulae by Rebecca Kemmerer
- 66 Eyes on the Sky: ALMA’s New Perspective by Jason Lozo
- JWST Checks-Out the First Galaxies by Peter Senchyna
- Our Newest Window to the Universe: The Amazing LSST by Eric Bochsler
- MAVEN the Martian by Nancy Thomas
- ‘Radio’ is not for music and ‘dish’ is not for a dinner by SungWon Kwak
- Hide and Seek: The Axion Story by Aaron West
- MaNGA, a Look Inside 10,000 Nearby Galaxies by Anthony Paat
- First Light of the Universe by Craig M. Douglass
Support the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory
If you would like to make a gift that will go directly towards enriching our educational public outreach efforts at the Observatory, visit the direct link https://www.washington.edu/giving/make-a-gift/?source_typ=3&source=FROBSV. Thank you for your support!
Friends of the Campus Observatory Fund
The fund was originally created to support maintenance and upkeep of the campus observatory; however, all of the funds currently go towards supporting our educational outreach open houses, activities, and programs.