Skip to main content

Public Events

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian sponsors a variety of free programs for the public. Among these events are Observatory Nights held on the third Thursday of select months. Observatory Nights feature a nontechnical lecture 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. Admission is free.

Public Observatory Nights will resume in Fall 2021 in a virtual format and will be live-streamed on our Facebook and YouTube channels.

For more information, including accessibility, or to sign up for the events mailing list, call the Public Affairs Office (617) 495-7461 or email


Observatory Night: Cosmic Explosions, from Supernovae to Tidal Disruption Events
7 p.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 14

The biggest explosions in the universe dwarf any we see on Earth. In space, we regularly witness exploding stars that can shine brighter than the rest of a galaxy as a supernova, or a black hole ripping apart a star that's visible from billions of light years away in what's called a Tidal Disruption Event (TDE). In this talk, astrophysicist Yvette Cendes will discuss how we observe cosmic explosions from Earth and learn about them, from Chinese records thousands of years ago to her modern-day observations as a radio astronomer. This will include Yvette's research on supernovae, such as the closest one ever observed to Earth -- Supernova 1987A -- and outflows from TDEs that "spaghettify" stars that wander too close to black holes.

This event will be live streamed on the Center for Astrophysics Facebook and YouTube page.


Enjoy our catalog of previous Public Observatory Nights at our YouTube channel, including this featured presentation on NASA's Parker Solar Probe.