Wartburg College Observatory

The Wartburg Platte Observatory is operated by Wartburg College to support the College's mission of education and outreach.

Operating as usual

NSF begins planning for decommissioning of Arecibo Observatory’s 305-meter telescope due to safety concerns 11/19/2020

One of astronomy's legendary tools is going dark. After two support cables were lost in the past several months, the NSF has decided that work to stabilise or repair the 305-m Arecibo telescope would present too much risk to the safety of the workers, and the observatory will be decommissioned.

NSF begins planning for decommissioning of Arecibo Observatory’s 305-meter telescope due to safety concerns NSF's mission is to advance the progress of science, a mission accomplished by funding proposals for research and education made by scientists, engineers, and educators from across the country.

05/28/2020

Happy Birthday, Frank Drake!!

Dr. Frank Drake, one of the NRAO’s first astronomers, poses with the NRAO’s first radio telescope, the 85-foot Howard E. Tatel in Green Bank, West Virginia. Drake set up our first millimeter-wave telescope and pioneered the use of radio telescopes in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

His Project Ozma used the 85-foot Tatel telescope to observe the stars Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani for signs of civilization. None were ever found. Drake is well known for his thought experiment we now call the Drake Equation. It multiplies factors for finding life in our Galaxy based on physical and political variables. The Order of the Dolphin, a group of philosophically-minded scientists that included Nobel Laureate Melvin Calvin and Carl Sagan, convened in Green Bank in 1961 to discuss this equation.

Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

02/25/2020

Day in History - February 24, 1968, discovery of first pulsar announced. Jocelyn Bell Burnell's work with the radio telescope was routine, until August of 1967. Later in December of 1967, Bell Burnell was analyzing data from a different part of the sky and found another regularly pulsing radio source with a slightly shorter period of 1-1/5 seconds. And then, over the Christmas holiday, she discovered two more such pulsing sources. The announcement in the journal Nature was sensational, and soon afterwards the objects were given the name pulsars. Credits: Encyclopedia.com

Photos from Wartburg College Observatory's post 01/23/2020

Dr. Figura's Astrobiology class is all *fired up* about lab today!

Timeline photos 08/13/2019

Happy 100th birthday, Margaret Burbidge! Here's to one of the greatest astronomers of the 20th century & winner of the 1977 Jansky Lectureship. Her awards & posts are too numerous to list here, read on for more of her tremendous scientific career https://bit.ly/31B8ty0

Astronomers map vast void in our cosmic neighborhood 07/22/2019

Astronomers map vast void in our cosmic neighborhood An astronomer from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) and an international team published a new study that reveals more of the vast cosmic structure surrounding our Milky Way galaxy.

Timeline photos 07/11/2019

Hey, so I'll be speaking at the Waverly Public Library at 18:30 tonight (6:30 PM) on the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon! You're sure to learn *something* new... and if not, perhaps you'll teach *me* something new!

Don't forget to join us this evening at 6:30 PM for "Fifty Years from Walking on the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11"!

Notice to Proceed Issued for TMT on Maunakea 06/20/2019

Notice to Proceed Issued for TMT on Maunakea The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has issued a notice to proceed (NTP) to the University of Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea. The NTP is a formal communication indicating that all pre-construction conditions and mitigation measures specifically required as a...

AAS Issues Position Statement on Satellite Constellations | American Astronomical Society 06/10/2019

The deployment of the SpaceX StarLink proto-constellation of satellites has brought the issue of artificial satellite sky pollution to the forefront of astronomers' concerns.

AAS Issues Position Statement on Satellite Constellations | American Astronomical Society On May 23rd entrepreneur Elon Musk's company SpaceX launched 60 Starlink communication satellites aboard a single rocket. Within days skywatchers worldwide spotted them flying in formation as they orbited Earth and reflected sunlight from their shiny metal surfaces.

04/10/2019

The first glimpse of the event horizon of a black hole, the supermassive black hole of M87 as imaged by the EHT. Released in the press release today, 2019/04/10.

Scientists of the Event Horizon Telescope have obtained the first image of a black hole, using observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. This long-sought image provides the strongest evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes and opens a new window onto the study of black holes, their event horizons, and gravity.

04/01/2019

100-inch dome DC telescope motion control solenoid switching cluster; the ultimate "Frankenstein Panel".(Photo courtesy of Michael Rudy)

Unusual Supernova Opens a Rare Window on the Collapse of a Star 01/11/2019

Unusual Supernova Opens a Rare Window on the Collapse of a Star An unusual supernova studied by multiple telescopes, including the SOAR telescope and other telescopes at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) and NSF’s Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), is thought to herald the birth of a new black hole or ...

Nightfall 06/04/2018

I was going back through some pictures, and came across a series I made on 2018/05/18 at the May Open House at the Observatory. Clouds were rough (as you can see), but we still had quite a few students come out. The skies eventually cleared a bit, so we got to take a look at a few things! Let's hope June is better!

Nightfall A cloudy night at the Wartburg Observatory Open House gave us some lovely clouds to see.

Pluto May Not Be a Planet, But It Could Be Made Out of Millions of Comets 05/24/2018

Some exciting news about everyone's favourite dwarf planet!

Pluto May Not Be a Planet, But It Could Be Made Out of Millions of Comets Pluto may not be categorised as a planet any more, but it still holds plenty of fascination. For instance, how did the dwarf planet form, and why is it so different from the planets? By examining its chemical composition, researchers have come up wit

Falcon Heavy Animation 02/06/2018

Falcon Heavy Animation When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 m...

Falcon Heavy Animation 02/06/2018

Elon Musk's SpaceX will attempt their first launch of the Falcon Heavy today at approximately 11:30 AM CST. This will be the most powerful rocket currently operating in the world, with an attempted triple landing of the launch vehicle.

Tune in.

Falcon Heavy Animation When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 m...

09/28/2017

The Board of Land & Natural Resources has decided to approve the Conservation District Use Permit to build TMT on Maunakea. It has been a long journey to get here and we remain committed to advancing science while benefiting the greater Hawaii community. TMT is committed to respecting the long history and cultural significance of Maunakea to the Hawaiian people, and we are grateful that this process has allowed everyone the opportunity to be heard. We thank all of our supporters and friends who have stood with us during these last 10 years.

https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/mk/files/2017/09/882-BLNR-FOFCOLDO.pdf

What to expect during Cassini's final hours 09/14/2017

It's been an incredible exploration of the Saturnian system. as Cassini's final hours count down, rest assured that we will continue to learn from Cassini's data for years to come.

What to expect during Cassini's final hours A timeline of what to expect from the great mission during its final hours.

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1000 20th Street NW
Waverly, IA
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