Past Meetup

CfA/Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory: Lecture and Observatory Night

This Meetup is past

22 people went


RSVPs open three days 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 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.


From the CfA:

Observatory Night: "Mirror Earth," Michael Lemonick, Climate Central

In 1995, the first planet orbiting a sun-like star was discovered by European astronomers. Since then, more than 2,000 additional planets have been found (many of them by astronomers at the CfA), and the search for exoplanets--and especially for an Earth-like planet that could support life--has gone from an obscure subspecialty in astrophysics to the hottest field around. Michael Lemonick will talk about his new book Mirror Earth, which chronicles that search and introduces the men and women who are carrying it out. Among other things, you'll learn why that widely acclaimed "first planet" may really have been the second, and how the CfA was part of the real first discovery years earlier.



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