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CfA/Harvard-Smithson­ian Observatory: Lecture and Observatory Night

RSVPs open a week before.

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.

If weather permits, rooftop stargazing through telescopes will follow the presentation. Dress for stargazing.

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.

From the Harvard stop on the MBTA Red Line, take any bus or trackless trolley going west on Concord Avenue in Cambridge (Arlmont Village and Belmont Center buses; Huron Avenue trolley) and get off at the Observatory Hill stop.

For more information and directions, go to  http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/events 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. (If you are in the separate screening room, turn right after you exit and walk toward the courtyard, then look for signs pointing the way to the telescopes.) You can also look for the meetup sign while we are waiting in line to look through the telescopes.

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 nighttime objects to observe.

The CfA would prefer that attendees not take pictures, but if you decide to, please do not use a flash.

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From the CfA:

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.

Watch It Live

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  • Valentin

    A big thank you to those who made this happen!

    February 21, 2014

  • Paul M

    The talk was excellent. I got there at 6:15 and was on the stairs - even we didn't get into the main hall, saw it from the overflow. Looked like there were a ton of people left outside. Sorry for those who didn't get in.

    February 20, 2014

    • Daniel

      What happened to you? You were just behind me, waiting at the first step of the stairs to the entrance, and I did get a seat in the main hall.

      February 20, 2014

    • Paul M

      It was weird, they were in obvious disarray. I got right up to the main entrance, they sent me to the overflow room, then they evidently let more people in to the main room. The overflow room was just fine, though.

      February 21, 2014

  • Heather

    I saw Guth speak on a panel about multiverses at the World Science Festival in NYC. The whole group together put on a nice presentation.

    February 20, 2014

  • Heather

    How many people made it into the talk , overflow or lecture ? I connected with some meetup nerds, but not many. The rain didn't help with connecting with people, but I'm sure glad I don't have to shovel the rain.

    February 20, 2014

  • Heather

    Grabbed some nerds and ran to the overflow room on the right.

    February 20, 2014

    • Dan

      Both overflow rooms might be filled up. This one certainly looks like it does.

      February 20, 2014

    • Brian S

      Third overflow just filled. Are people meeting outside after?

      February 20, 2014

  • Heather

    Sometimes if it's cloudy they let us go up to see the old telescope from the 1800s. Let's meet up there after or if they don't bring us to see the old scope lets say hello outside.

    February 20, 2014

  • Heather

    the CfA just sent an email saying there will be large crowds for this, so show up early enough to get in to the main room or the over-flow room. I'll post here as to which room I got into and I'll have my meetup sign visible once inside. 6:45 should be early enough... but you never know.

    This is the first time this year I brought Nerd Fun to their public event, so I don't know how busy they've been all year.

    Has anyone else been? has it been crowded?

    February 18, 2014

    • Heather

      60+ people "say" they are coming. I usually get 12 or 14 people that actually come. It has something to do with the universal constant.

      1 · February 19, 2014

    • Samuel

      Hubble's constant of ~60 kps/Mpc yields an age of the universe of ~12 Ga, so sounds about right.

      1 · February 20, 2014

  • Valentin

    Last time I missed registering on MOS's web site. Do we need to register anywhere this time?

    February 13, 2014

    • Dan

      No registration necessary. The lectures themselves are also worth attending even if the weather is not decent.

      February 16, 2014

  • Valentin

    I am soooo looking forward to this! I just hope the weather will cooperate!

    February 13, 2014

  • Al_7

    I love this! Thanks for doing it.

    February 12, 2014

  • Heather

    Finally! getting the chance to run/attend one of these this year.

    February 12, 2014

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