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 about this event, visit the CfA website: or call them at 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.


From the CfA:

Observatory Night: "Strange Planetary Vistas from Kepler," Josh Carter, CfA

The study of extrasolar planets has recently entered its heyday with the launch of NASA's Kepler mission. Kepler has found that planetary systems are very common in our galaxy. Along the way, we've been surprised by the diversity of planetary systems, many of which bear little resemblance to our own solar system and force us to consider novel pathways to planet formation. Josh Carter will present these most alien of alien worlds, including planets orbiting two suns and a planetary system with two very  different planets very close to one another.


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  • Heather

    I think I speak for everyone when I say "brrr, let us inside"

    November 15, 2012

  • Heather

    I think I speak for everyone when I say "brrr, let us inside"

    November 15, 2012

  • Marianne

    Only Nerd Fun members can sign up for this event. Please read the event description and visit the CfA website (the link is easy to find, rest assured, in the event description). Then decide if you would like to bring a guest.

    November 10, 2012

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