This event takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, at Phillips Auditorium, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., but get there early . . . even before 6:45 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served for the main lecture room. The overflow crowd sits in a separate screening room. Admission is free.
Via e-mail from the CfA on Tuesday, March 15: "It looks like the 'weather gods' might smile on us for this Thursday's event!" The winter weather did not permit stargazing in January and February, but it's looking very good for March. Dress for stargazing outdoors!
Free parking is available to everyone after 5 p.m. (Ignore the "staff only" signs.) Drive up to the back, up the hill. The presentation is up the stairs that are opposite the observatory-in-a-box. Mass Ave buses (to points in Arlington and North Cambridge) originate in Harvard Square on the Red Line and travel along Massachusetts Avenue, which is about a 10-minute walk from the auditorium.
For more information and directions, go to http://www.cfa.harvar... or call 617.495.7461.
A line forms early for this event. Please do not cut in line because we will meet inside the auditorium: go to the back left of the seats. The overflow crowd goes into a separate screening room, so everyone gets in to see the presentation. Even if we don't sit together, we will meet in the courtyard after the lecture and before we go up on the roof. At this point, we can collect everyone from the lecture hall and the overflow viewing room.
Sitting at the left rear of the lecture hall is a way to let people find me and an empty seat that much more easily. The lectures are lots of fun, though, and I can certainly understand if you would like to sit up front and closer to the (very entertaining!) talks. Please sit where you are most comfortable. If you are bringing children to the event, you may want to sit toward the front so they can see and ask questions. We will be able to chat after the lecture, while we wait in line for a chance to stargaze through the several rooftop telescopes. Each telescope is usually trained on a different sight in the nighttime sky, so waiting in several lines gives us plenty of time to introduce ourselves. And plenty of exciting objects to observe!
From the CfA:
Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, March 17, 2011, "Strange New Worlds," Ray Jayawardhana, University of Toronto
Soon astronomers expect to find alien Earths by the dozens in orbit around distant suns. Before the decade is out, telltale signs that they harbor life may be found. If they are, the ramifications for all areas of human thought and endeavor -- from religion and philosophy to art and biology -- will be breathtaking. In his new book Strange New Worlds, renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets, and alien life, beyond our solar system.
After the lecture and/or stargazing, we will head to Christopher's in Porter Square:
Christopher's Restaurant & Bar
1920 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA [masked]
Thursday: Open until 2 a.m.
A bar and grill that offers numerous vegetarian options. This I have to see. And taste!
Christopher's is on Massachusetts Avenue, across the street from the Porter Square T stop on the Red Line (and probably closer to the CfA observatory than any point in Harvard Square). If you plan to drive, use the meters on Mass. Ave., and read the street signs about parking rules in Cambridge. Do not -- I repeat, do not -- park in the lot that serves the Star Market, CVS, and Dunkin' Donuts. You will be towed from that lot if you park there and a parking lot attendant watches you walk out of the lot to patronize a store or restaurant that is not in the shopping center.