Carnegie Astronomy Lecture Series

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.

2018 Season

Monday evenings:  April 9th, April 23rd, May 7th and May 21st.

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino
All Lectures are in Rothenberg Auditorium. Directions can be found here.

The lectures are free. Because seating is limited, however, reservations are required for each lecture through Eventbrite. Additionally, the lectures will be streamed live through Livestream and simultanously on our Facebook CarnegieAstro page. 

Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Each Lecture will be preceded by a brief musical performance by students from The Colburn School starting at 7:00 p.m. Lectures start at 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be available.


Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA / Judy Schmidt

Monday, April 9th 2018

Watch a recording of this talk.

Sharing the Wonders of the Light and Dark Universe
Dr. Marja Seidel
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Carnegie Observatories

What is the Universe made of? We can peer millions of years into the past in the night sky, yet we barely understand just 5 percentthe “regular” matter that we can see. In the standard cosmological model, a quarter of the remaining 95 percent is dark matter. Dr. Seidel will discuss her quest to understand dark matter, and her experiences bringing astronomy education to some of the most remote and under-served locations on Earth.


Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Monday, April 23rd 2018

Watch a recording of this talk.

You Can't Make a Solar System Without Breaking a Few Asteroids: The Tale of Asteroid Families
Dr. Joseph Masiero
Scientist & NEOWISE Deputy-PI
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

The formation of our Solar System was a chaotic collapse of gas and dust in to the Sun, planets, asteroids, and comets we have today, punctuated by the catastrophic collisions between these forming bodies. Dr. Masiero will discuss how the asteroid families in the belt today are the last remnants of these massive collisions, and give us a window into the processes that shaped our Solar System.


Image: SDSS / David Kirby

Monday, May 7th 2018

Watch a recording of this talk.

Dark Energy and Cosmic Sound
Dr. Daniel Eisenstein
Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University
Director, Sloan Digital Sky Survey III

Sound waves propagating through the Universe only 400,000 years after the Big Bang now offer some of our most-precise measures of the composiiton and history of the Universe. In the last decade, we have detected the fossil imprint of these sound waves using maps of the distribution of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Dr. Eisenstein will describe these waves and the ambitious experiments that use them to extend our cosmological reach. 


Image: Carnegie Institution for Science/ Robin Dienel

Monday, May 21st 2018

Watch a recording of this talk.

Astronomical Alchemy: The Origin of the Elements

Dr. Maria Drout
Hubble and Carnegie-Dunlap Fellow,
Carnegie Institution for Science

As Carl Sagan once said, "We are all made of star stuff." However, each element has its own astronomical origins story. Elements are created everywhere from the centers of stars, to supernovae explosions, to the Big Bang itself. Dr. Drout will take us on a journey through the perioidic table, highlighting how our recent discovery of a 'kilonova' associated with the cataclysmic merger of two neutron stars has filled in one of the final pieces of the elemental puzzlethe origin of many of the heaviest elements in the universe.



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