Carnegie Astronomy Lectures

Each year the Observatories organizes a series of public lectures on current astronomical topics.  These lectures are given by astronomers from the Carnegie Observatories as well as other research institutions.  The lectures are geared to the general public and are free.

2017 Season

Monday evenings:  April 3rd, April 17th, May 1st and May 15th.

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino
All Lectures are in Rothenberg Auditorium.

The lectures are free. Because seating is limited, however, reservations are required. Please visit to reserve your seat.

Doors open at 6:45pm. Each Lecture will be preceded by a brief musical performance by students from The Colburn School. Lectures start at 7:30pm. Light refreshments will be available.

The 2017 Astronomy Lecture Series is organized by Dr. John Mulchaey, Director of the Observatories. For more information, please contact 626.304.0250 or visit


Tony Piro picture Monday, April 3rd 2017
Unraveling the Mysteries of Exploding Stars
Dr. Tony Piro
George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics
Carnegie Institution for Science

Supernovae are cosmic explosions where a single star can become as bright as a billion stars combined. Even though supernovae are crucial to the Universe, including producing the elements necessary for life, many mysteries remain. What powers them? Which stars are exploding? How do stars die? Astrophysicists are combining clues from observations with theoretical modeling to finally address these issues. And just like with any good mystery, often the answers lead to even more questions.


Monday, April 17th 2017
Simulating the Universe, One Galaxy at a Time
Dr. Andrew Wetzel
Caltech-Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow
Carnegie Institution for Science

The formation of galaxies like our Milky Way involves gravity, dark matter, gases, star formation, and stellar explosions. Theoretical astrophysics is now revealing this complex process by using the world’s most powerful supercomputers to simulate galaxy formation. Dr. Wetzel will describe dramatic new advances in understanding how galaxies form within the cosmic web of the Universe.


Monday, May 1st 2017
Exoplanet Genetics
Dr. Johanna Teske
Carnegie Origins Postdoctoral Fellow
Carnegie Institution for Science

How do we find planets orbiting stars other than our Sun? How do we know what they’re made of, or if they’re Earth-like? Dr. Teske will discuss how exoplanets’ composition is “inherited” from their host star ‘’genes,” and will highlight new exoplanet discoveries and the Carnegie Institution’s pivotal role in understanding exoplanet formation and composition.

You can watch a recording of this talk by following this link.

Monday, May 15th 2017
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Now I See You as You Are: How We See Inside a Star With Sound
Dr. Jennifer van Saders
Carnegie-Princeton Fellow,
Carnegie Institution for Science

We have sought to understand the internal workings of stars for as long as we have done astronomy, with the Sun as our first and best-studied star. Today, the technique of “asteroseismology” has revolutionized our view: just as seismology here on Earth reveals the interior of our own planet, asteroseismology of the stars allows us to view their central engines and structures.


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