M27 Dumbbell Nebula. Image taken by ASTR 206 student using Whitin's 24" telescope (fall 2012).
Whitin Observatory. Image credit: Peter Vanderwarker
Needle Galaxy. Image taken by student researchers using Whitin's 24" telescope (summer 2012).
Painting by R. K. Fletcher, circa 1950.
Ring nebula. Image taken by ASTR 206 student using Whitin's 24" telescope (fall 2012).
Whitin Observatory. Image credit: Peter Vanderwarker
M64 Black Eye Galaxy. Image taken by student researchers using Whitin's 24" telescope (summer 2013).
Whitin Observatory. Image credit: Peter Vanderwarker
NGC 6888. Image taken by student researchers using Whitin's 24" telescope (summer 2013).

Welcome to the Astronomy Department and the Whitin Observatory 

Our academic program is designed to serve both the novice stargazer who wants to explore the workings of the Universe and our place within it, and also majors who will make astronomy a central part of their future lives.

The Whitin Observatory is the home of the Wellesley College Astronomy Department and houses classrooms, astronomy laboratory facilities, the Astronomy Library, and faculty offices. Built in 1900, and enlarged in 1906, 1966, and 2010, it is considered an unusually fine facility for undergraduate training in astronomy.  Our telescopes are used for College teaching activities and research observing nearly every clear night.

Our students have many opportunities to engage in astronomy-related activities beyond the formal curriculum. They learn to operate our historic and modern telescopes and serve as nighttime lab assistants, research assistants, and tour guides. They observe the sky for fun as part of club A.S.T.R.O.  They can carry out research under the direction of Wellesley faculty and, during the summer, with faculty at other schools within the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium or other NSF-funded programs.

Friends of our Observatory are invited to keep in touch on Facebook.

We invite members of the public to join us during our monthly “Whitin Nights” events!