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.

The Observatory does not host private events.

public night image
Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, November 20, 2014
7:30 pm: Starlight Detectives
Alan Hirshfeld

"Starlight Detectives is just the sort of richly veined book I love to read - full of scientific history and discoveries, peopled by real heroes and rogues, and told with absolute authority. Alan Hirshfeld's wide, deep knowledge of astronomy arises not only from the most careful scholarship, but also from the years he's spent at the telescope, posing his own questions to the stars." - Dava Sobel, author of A More Perfect Heaven and Longitude

public night image
Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, December 4, 2014
7:30 pm: The Case of the Mysterious X-rays from Space
Esra Bulbul

While researchers celebrated the Chandra X-ray Observatory's 15 years of operation this past June, they were also puzzled by its latest finding: a mysterious X-ray signal radiating from the Perseus galaxy cluster. Could this be the signature of "sterile" neutrinos and partially explain dark matter? Now that's a good question!