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, six times per academic year. 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. Admission is free and seating is first-come, first-served.

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.

artist concept of TEMPO
Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, October 17, 2019
7:30 pm: TEMPO: Atmospheric Pollution Measurements from Geostationary Orbit
Kelly Chance, Senior Physicist in Atomic and Molecular Physics, Center for Astrophysics

The Smithsonian/NASA Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution satellite instrument (TEMPO; will measure atmospheric pollution and much more over North America at hourly time resolution or better and 2km (N/S)×5km (E/W) spatial resolution. It will measure ground-level ozone, its chemical precursors, clouds, and aerosols. TEMPO will be launched in early 2022. TEMPO will measure from a geostationary vantage point 35,786 km above Earth's equator at 93°W. Applications include air quality and health; ozone production; biomass burning; lightning nitrogen dioxide; soil nitrogen and fertilizer application; crop and forest damage from ozone; chlorophyll and primary productivity; water vapor studies including atmospheric rivers, hurricanes, and corn sweat; and rush hour pollution.