Education & Events

Carnegie Observatories 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.  For more information, including lecture topics, please visit the Carnegie Lecture Series page.

Everday Cosmology

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington is proud to present Everyday Cosmology, a website devoted to the history of cosmology from the time of Galileo to the present day.  Learn about the most important discoveries in Astronomy that have shaped our view of the Universe.  Includes an historical time-line and learning activities.


Education & Events

The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington maintain an active public outreach program designed to interest the general public in astronomy, provide science education activities and resources for underserved elementary grade students, and strengthen undergraduate curricula for astronomy majors at local colleges.

Each year since 2003, the Observatories have offered a free public lecture series that enables Southern Californians to hear about recent findings in astronomy directly from professional astronomers. There are four lectures each spring (36 total to-date, through 2010), held at the lecture hall of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. Approximately 4000 attendees (avg. 250 per lecture) have come to hear presentations on such topics as black holes, supernovae, and extra-solar planets. Thousands of brochures describing the lectures are mailed each season, and announcements are included in regional newsletters that reach tens of thousands more.

In conjunction with this lecture series, the Carnegie Observatories host a local educational program with the Pasadena Unified School District’s Longfellow Elementary School. This effort, geared mainly to 5th graders, includes in-school visits from Carnegie staff astronomers, educational activities at the Huntington before the general lectures, star parties, and field trips to Carnegie’s historic campus in Pasadena.


The Observatories also work with Pomona and Harvey Mudd Colleges–both located in nearby Claremont, CA, and both of which have undergraduate astronomy programs–to conduct a joint research seminar for upper-level undergraduate students. The program also offers the students opportunities to conduct original research under the supervision of staff members–a chance for high-level, hands-on research that the students would not ordinarily receive at two colleges with strong liberal arts programs.

In addition to these activities, Carnegie also hosts an annual Open House for those in the local community, trains docents and educators from local institutions (such as the Griffith Observatory and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles), and provides astronomy lecturers for community groups whenever possible.

If you are an educator in the Los Angeles area looking for an astronomer to visit your classroom, please contact Jeff Rich.