Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper

Photograph of Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper


The Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM) was installed at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile in March of 2009 (previously operating from Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona). WHAM is a completely remote and robotic observing facility.

The WHAM project is funded primarily through grants from the National Science Foundation with additional support provided by the University of Wisconsin Graduate School, the UW Department of Physics, and the UW Department of Astronomy. Much of the hardware was built and assembled by the University of Wisconsin Space Astronomy Laboratory and the Physical Sciences Laboratory.

The Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM) group is studying one important component of the interstellar medium (ISM) in our own Milky Way to help answer important questions about how galaxies work.

For scientists: More details can be found on the science page.


Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper

Name(s) Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper
Status Operational
Broad Science Goals

The Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper is a specialized instrument to study the distribution and kinematics of diffuse, ionized gas in the Milky Way. 

  • Where does the energy produced in the star-forming regions of our galaxy go?

  • How does that energy propagate away from these birth sites?

  • How does this energy change as it travels, and how is it deposited back into the galaxy?

Site Cerro Tololo, Chile
Location Coordinates 30º 10’ 05.92’S
70º 48’ 12.24’W
Altitude 2152 meters (7064 feet)
Enclosure Environmentally protective trailer
Optical Design  
Field of View 1-degree-diameter circular field of view
Diameter: Primary M1 0.6 meters
Material: Primary M1  
Diameter: Secondary M2  
Material: Secondary M2  
First Light Date 2009
Adaptive Optics  
Images taken with the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper Link
Images of the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper Link
Videos of the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper Link
Press Releases with the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper Link

Please help us to complete this page by emailing information and corrections to info@noirlab.edu.