Observatory Night

Astronomy talk followed by viewing through telescopes:

February 20: 50 Years After the Discovery of the Big Bang

In 1964 Smithsonian astronomer Robert Wilson and his colleague Arno Penzias discovered a uniform radio hiss now known as the cosmic microwave background. On the 50th anniversary of this profound discovery, we will condense a trillion years into just one hour, with four leading experts. Alan Guth will discuss the Big Bang and cosmic inflation. Robert Wilson will describe his Nobel Prize-winning find. Robert Kirshner will address dark energy and the accelerating universe, and Avi Loeb will transport us to the end of everything.

March 20: A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos

Copernicus is the man who turned the universe inside out, placing the Sun and not the Earth at the center of our solar system. Renowned author Dava Sobel (Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, The Planets) will debut her latest book, with additional commentary by a special guest, historian Owen Gingerich.

April 17: 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.

May 15: 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!


For more information, including accessibility, or to sign up for the events mailing list, call the Public Affairs Office, (617) 495-7461 or email Please request sign-language interpretation at least 2 weeks before the event. Current sky information is available.

Entrance is at the west of the CfA complex, near Madison Street and large parking lot. The CfA is easily reached by public transportation. From the Harvard MBTA Station (Red Line), take any bus or trackless trolley going west on Concord Avenue (Arlmont Village and Belmont Center buses, Huron Avenue trolleys) and get off at "Observatory Hill."


6th Annual Sunday Parkland Games

Harvard Square
Each summer since 2009, the Charles River Conservancy (CRC), in partnership with the...

Genetics and Diabetes

Kendall Square
Designing new drugs would be easier if scientists understood the biology of the diseases...

Thoreau’s Maine Woods: A Journey in Photographs

Harvard Square
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Henry David Thoreau's...


Date & Time

    • Thursday, April 18, 2013
      7:30 pm — 8:30 pm
    • Thursday, May 16, 2013
      7:30 pm — 8:30 pm
    • Thursday, February 20, 2014
      7:30 pm — 8:30 pm
    • Thursday, March 20, 2014
      7:30 pm — 8:30 pm
    • Thursday, April 17, 2014
      7:30 pm — 8:30 pm
    • Thursday, May 15, 2014
      7:30 pm — 8:30 pm




  • Lectures / Talks