Real Estate Showcase: Behlen Observatory
Location: Eastern Nebraska
Behlen Observatory is a research facility and astronomical observatory owned and operated by the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It is located in Mead, Nebraska—about 38 miles northeast of Lincoln, Nebraska, far from encroaching light pollution.
Behlen’s position between Lincoln and Omaha allows observatory users to see a nearly unpolluted darkness, which allows for the best view of the stars by astronomers. The observatory features a 30-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, which is primarily used for variable star research.
“Compared to what one might experience in Lincoln or even a few miles out of Lincoln, these skies are far, far darker. Under good skies, you can easily see the Milky Way, and you can easily see thousands of stars.”
Behlen Observatory was founded in 1972 and dedicated in 1993 with donations from Walter Behlen, founder of Behlen Manufacturing and a patron of the sciences. Although the observatory was built as an educational research facility for the University, they wanted to see it benefit the state of Nebraska in general. As a result, the observatory is open to the public several nights a year for observing the night sky. Such events often include talks by UNL scientists and demonstrations by UNL's Society of Physics Students.