Events for the Public

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics sponsors a variety of free programs for the public. Among these events are Observatory Nights held on the third Thursday of the 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. We also sponsor a variety of other special observing events throughout the year. No reservations are necessary, but seating is limited to the auditorium's capacity. Admission is free.

These events--unless otherwise noted--are held in Phillips Auditorium (at the rear of the CfA complex near Madison Street and large parking lot), 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, about 1 mile west of Harvard Square. Parking lots marked for Observatory Staff are open to the public on event nights. Parking is free.

public night image
Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, April 17, 2014
7:30 pm: Jupiter & Mars Return!

The King of Planets and the God of War dominate the night sky this spring. These two neighboring worlds contrast each other dramatically - one small and rocky, one huge and gaseous. Learn about the differences between gas-giant and terrestrial planets, both in our solar system and beyond, from planetary scientist Ruth Murray-Clay, and then observe both of these worlds through telescopes to highlight this memorable evening.

public night image
Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, May 15, 2014
7:30 pm: Building the Future Spacesuit

Russia, the U.S., and newcomer China all have ambitious plans for the human conquest of space. Their future destinations: the Moon, an asteroid, and eventually Mars. But 21st century exploration demands 21st century spacesuits. Come see what MIT professor Dava Newman has designed - the spacesuit of the future. Combining fashion and functionality, it provides astronauts new flexibility and range of motion. This is the end of the bulky moon look!