"Universe in the Park", established in 1996, is an extremely popular outreach program of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. "UitP" is predicated on a very simple idea, that the best environment in which to introduce the general public to astronomy is outside under dark skies. For the past five years we have taken "UitP" to state parks throughout Wisconsin during the summer camping season, giving talks and slide shows, answering questions, and letting the general public view astronomical objects through one of the UitP telescopes. A typical "UitP" session begins just after sunset with a 20-30 minute talk and slide show about astronomy. While the particular topic is left up to the speaker, we usually present a broad overview of astronomy or recent astronomical news such as the discovery of new solar systems and the latest results from the Hubble Space Telescope. At the conclusion of the talk (if the sky is clear) we set up one of the two moderate aperture (8"-10") telescopes and provide park visitors the opportunity to view whatever astronomical objects are available. Most of the question and answer period takes place around the telescope. "UitP" sessions run as long as there are people interested in looking through the telescope, and the parks typically close before the interest has been sated.
If you are looking for a UitP at a park near you, take a look at our schedule. It is updated periodically as new events are scheduled.
If you are associated with a Wisconsin park and would like to schedule a UitP at your location, please see this page.
If you would like to learn more about astronomy topics, or find out what is in the sky tonight, please see our links page.
The Universe in the Park program is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Universe in the Park
Dept of Astronomy
475 N. Charter St.
Madison, WI 53706