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. 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.

Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, April 19, 2018
7:30 pm: Taking a Photograph of a Black Hole
Shep Doeleman, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Astronomer & Director, Event Horizon Telescope Project

Black holes are the most exotic objects thought to exist in the universe, but no one has ever seen one. In this talk, Dr. Shep Doeleman, astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, will explore the evidence for black holes, and describe an effort to link radio dishes around the world to form an Earth-sized virtual telescope that can capture the first images of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, May 17, 2018
7:30 pm: Extreme Spacecrafting: NASA's Parker Solar Probe
Tony Case, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Solar Probe Cup Instrument Scientist, and Kelly Korreck, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Science Operations Lead for SWEAP Instrument Suite aboard Parker Solar Probe

In July 2018, NASA will launch a satellite 60 years in the making. The hottest mission under the Sun will visit - the Sun! It is an extreme mission - the fastest human-made object that will travel closest to the Sun at the hottest operating temperatures in history. Learn what went into building this satellite with Dr. Kelly Korreck, who will describe the strange Sun behavior that this mission aims to explain, and Dr. Tony Case, who will discuss the bravest instrument on board that peeks around the spacecraft's protective sun shade: the Solar Probe Cup.