- Education & Outreach
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge sponsors free programs for the public on the third Thursday of every month (excluding June, July and August). "Observatory Nights" feature a nontechnical lecture and telescopic observing from the observatory roof if weather permits. The lectures are intended for high-school age and older audiences but children are also welcome. Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Parking is free; parking lots marked for Observatory Staff are open to the public on event nights. Admission is free.
Thursday, November 21, 2013 7:15 pm: Comet ISON Report 7:30 pm: "We Are Not Alone"
Red-dwarf stars are the most common stars in the universe. Researcher Courtney Dressing will present findings that these most-numerous of stars also harbor plenty of planets. Thus, Earth-like planets are more prevalent than we thought and should be located right next door!
Watch it live: here.
Saturday, December 14, 5:00 AM Special Event: Catching Comet ISON Will sungrazing Comet ISON sizzle or fizzle? Discovered by two amateur Russian astronomers on September 21, 2012, Comet ISON has been slowly following a path that will take it closest to the Sun on November 28th. Join us for hot apple cider or hot chocolate as we view Comet ISON rising at dawn in the eastern sky. Like the Great Comet of 1680, if it survives its close encounter with the Sun, it could be a comet to remember.
Thursday, December 19, 2013 7:15 pm: Choosing Your First Telescope 7:30 pm: Author's Night
Join us for an Author's Night and book signing with CfA Public Affairs director and author/illustrator David A. Aguilar, featuring two of his new National Geographic kid's books "Space Encyclopedia" and "ALIEN WORLDS". A special drawing will be held open to attending elementary school teachers or librarians for a complete set of the authors' National Geographic books. And the whole audience will have a chance to win an Orion 4.5 Starblast Telescope!
Observatory Nights are held in the Phillips Auditorium at the CfA, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, about 1 mile west of Harvard Square. No reservations are necessary, but seating is limited to the auditorium's capacity. Entrance is at the west of the CfA complex, near Madison Street and large parking lot. The CfA is easily reached by public transportation. From the Harvard MBTA Station (Red Line), take any bus or trackless trolley going west on Concord Avenue (Arlmont Village and Belmont Center buses, Huron Avenue trolleys) and get off at "Observatory Hill." Additional directions are available.
For more information, including accessibility, or to sign up for the events mailing list, call the Public Affairs Office, (617) 495-7461 or email pubaffairs@cfa. Please request sign-language interpretation at least 2 weeks before the event. Current sky information is available.