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 Harriman Hall in the lecture room 137. A campus map is available here.


The observatory on the roof of the Earth & Space Science building (ESS) 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 2023-24

Astronomy Open Nights are in-Person

Fall 2023

Sept 1, 2023 Prof. Alan Caldar All about stellar combustion or: How I learned to stop worrying and love thermonuclear supernovae.
Oct 6, 2023 Prof. Michael Zingale The Promise of Terrestrial Fusion
Nov 3, 2023 Prof. Phil Armitage Catching planetary systems at birth
Dec 1, 2023 Prof. James Lattimer Neutron Stars Embody Matter at Extremes

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.

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.

See here for current procedures for claiming in-service credit.

Other Series