Observational Astronomy

Wisconsin Astronomy includes a variety of observational components. These aim to extract quantitative information concerning fundamental properties of astrophysical systems.  This work is carried out via a combination of our Wisconsin facilities that are general purpose and specialized optical-infrared observatories, as well as through competitive access to other telescopes on Earth and in space. This approach supports the Wisconsin multi-wavelength research tradition. When combined with the energetic particle detection capabilities of the Wisconsin-led IceCube Antarctic observatory, our observational research also takes on a multi-messenger character.

Our observational programs routinely combine spectroscopic and imaging to derive basic data on astronomical objects. Images yield intensity maps. When obtained with broadband filters, these lead to fundamental measures of point source variability and spectral energy distributions, while for extended objects they yield density distributions and properties of baryonic matter.  These capabilities have been exploited, for example, over a range of scales, from properties of brown dwarf and low mass pre-main sequence stars to studies of galaxy structures and the evolution of their super-massive central black holes across cosmic time.

Run by Amy Barger, Bob Benjamin, Dawn Erb, Jay Gallagher, David Kaplan, Robert Mathieu, Snezana Stanimirovic, Bart Wakker, Eric Wilcots, and Marsha Wolf.

Research Groups