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 2017-18

Fall 2017

Sept 1, 2017 Prof. Frederick Walter Solar Eclipses and Where to Find Them: America's eclipse of August 21 2017
Oct 6, 2017 Prof. Doug Swesty Man-made Space Weather: a Catastrophe for Modern Civilization?
Nov 3, 2017 Mr. Donald Willcox Saturn in 13 Years: the Cassini-Huygens Mission
Dec 1, 2017 Prof. James Lattimer TBD

Spring 2018

Feb 2, 2018 Prof. Alan Calder TBD
Mar 2, 2018 TBD TBD
Apr 6, 2018 Prof. Neelima Sehgal TBD
May 4, 2018 Prof. Michael Zingale TBD

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