Join Us to Learn About the Universe

We feature talks on current astronomical topics and observing through our rooftop telescope


Generally, one Friday a month during the semesters. Check the schedule below. The lecture begins at 7:30pm. Weather-permitting, observing follows using our rooftop telescope.


Lectures take place in the Earth & Space Sciences Building (ESS) in lecture hall 001. A campus map is available here.


The observatory on the roof of the ESS building houses a 14" Meade telescope. Depending on the sky conditions and season, we will view planets, the moon, nearby nebula, globular clusters, or galaxies.

Current Schedule

Academic Year 2016-17

Fall 2016

Sept 2, 2016 Prof. James Lattimer Where Do Elements Heavier Than Iron Come From?
Sept 30, 2016 Prof. Doug Swesty Ripples in Space-time: Detecting Gravitational Waves
Oct 28, 2016 Prof. Alan Calder NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter
Dec 2, 2016 Dr. Simone Dall'Osso Black Holes from Early Speculations to Modern Astrophysics

Spring 2017

Jan 27, 2017 Prof. Marilena Loverde A History of Structure in the Universe
Mar 3, 2017 Prof. Fred Walter White Dwarfs: the most interesting boring stars in the universe
Apr 7, 2017 Prof. Neelima Sehgal Unveiling the First Moments of the Universe’s Creation with the Simons Observatory
May 5, 2017 Prof. Michael Zingale Computing the Stars

About Astronomy Open Night

Open Nights at Stony Brook began with the arrival of Comet Kohoutek. Tobias Owen, Deane Peterson, and Mike Simon put together a series of lectures for the public on the comet shortly before it reached perihelion on December 28, 1973. Comet Kohoutek was a new comet, and astronomers expected it to be quite bright when it passed by the Sun on perhaps its first visit to the inner solar system. Unfortunately, the bright display never materialized. But the talks were such a hit that a series was formed.

The series has continued ever since, and we typically have 4 each semester. For further information or to have your name added to the mailing list (postal or e-mail) contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy at (631) 632-8100, or send e-mail to Nathan Leoce-Schappin.

Do try to be a little early if you can. The increasing popularity of this series has seen the lecture hall full on occasion. (And when there's a comet, you can't buy a seat). Some disability-related accommodations are available. Call the Department at the number above before 4 pm to warn us of your requirements.

In-service Credit for Teachers

Astronomy Open Night provides attendance certification for New York State teachers wishing to apply for in-service credit. Among these programs you can accumulate hours of lecture credit each year to apply toward your school district's program. Policies on in-service credit are set by school boards and you should check with your administration concerning the details of the local program.

Other Series