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Observatory Nights – Geeky Fun For the Whole Family

Posted on : Sep-15-2010 | By : maggie | In : local, news

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If you’re looking for fun on Thursday nights, how about some science-y fun? The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics holds monthly observatory events open to all (including kids).

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge sponsors free programs for the public on the third Thursday of every month (excluding June, July, and December). “Observatory Nights” feature a nontechnical lecture and telescopic observing from the observatory roof if weather permits. The lectures are intended for high-school age and older audiences but children are also welcome. Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Doors open at 7:00 pm; programs begin at 7:30 pm. Parking is free.

This Thursday (tomorrow) is Jeffrey Bennett’s “Beyond UFOs: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and its Astonishing Implications for our Future”. A look at the real searches for life in the worlds beyond our mesosphere and what it means for today and tomorrow.
CfA website

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Comments (4)

That sounds awesome, I totally want to go!

Rats, I’m stuck in rainy NH, have to get up at 6:30 AM. :-(

I went last night, it was a general introduction to the fall night sky with vary good slide show and presentation by David Aguilar followed by going up onto the roof to look through the 9″ Clark refractor and about 6 other portable telescopes ranging from about 8″ to 20″, provided by the regular amateur astronomer attendees.

There were tons of people. There was a strict limit on how many people they could let into the lecture hall of about 160 (fire laws?), and they were worried there wasn’t going to be room, but I think in the end, everyone fit There was a live webcast, so maybe some people went somewhere else to watch it.

There were lots of kids, at least 20 or 30, mostly in the 8-12 range (my guess.)

When we went up on the roof, the sky was mostly clear, though slightly hazy. Lots of light pollution. Through the telescopes, the air looked fairly stable. (Sometimes a little haze results in steadier air and better seeing.) However, there were fast moving clouds and it got completely clouded over just as I got to the front of the Clark line to view Jupiter. :-( It cleared up again in 10 minutes, but for the rest of the evening, clouds kept coming and going rapidly. I did get to see Uranus for the 1st time. After about 9 (when it clouded over briefly), the crowd thinned out and the lines at the scopes got much shorter.

@John Awesome… I really should make the effort to go. It sounds like a lot of fun.

FYI, I’m hoping to get one or more of the CfA guys to come talk (I work with a couple and got the scoop on who to ask).

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