Institute of Astronomy

Current Season - Public Talks


All public open evenings are held at the Institute of Astronomy with talks taking place in the lecture theatre in the Hoyle Building. You can find a map of the Institute site here.

Talk Times

All talks start at 7:15pm unless otherwise stated. Often our events are very popular and it is not always possible to accommodate everyone who attends in the main lecture theatre. We encourage you to arrive early to avoid disappointment.


There is no need to book unless you are a group of 15+ people; only the evenings that remain blank in the 'Group Booking' column are available for groups.

Date Talk Title Speaker Group Booking Weather No. of Visitors Handout
1st Oct The nearest star, our Sun Carolin Crawford Villiers Park students Cloudy 185
8th Oct The space between galaxies Laura Keating Girls brigade Partly Clear 145
15th Oct The brightest explosions in the Universe Morgan Fraser King's Lynn Astro Soc Raining 150
22nd Oct Staring into black holes Michael Parker Cambridge PdOC Cloudy 180
29th Oct The Great Debate Prash Jethwa, Gus Williams & Laura Keating - half term - Raining 115
12th Nov Sister of the more famous William: some reflections on the life and career of Caroline Herschel Christina Koning Partly Clear 165
19th Nov Dark energy and the fate of the Universe Sonke Hee 2nd Cambourne Guides Partly Clear 190
26th Nov An update on the Rosetta mission Carolin Crawford Hitchin Priory Rotary Club Foggy 150
3rd Dec The search for Earth 2.0 Sara Seager Cambridge Gates scholars Cloudy 155
10th Dec What is a (modern) astronomer? Thomas Masseron 1st Balsham guides Partly Clear 150
17th Dec What's the use of black holes? Andy Fabian Cloudy 115
Date Talk Title Speaker Group Booking Weather No. of Visitors Handout
7th Jan Our Galaxy Paula Jofre St Bedes school Cloudy 155
14th Jan The Cosmic Microwave Background: our probe of the birth of the universe Will Handley Thorley Senior Section Cloudy 153
21st Jan Galaxies: how do our star factories evolve? Gourav Khullar 26th Cambridge cubs Cloudy 150
28th Jan What is a habitable planet? Christina Hedges Clear 185
4th Feb Did ancestral humans witness a flaring black hole two million years ago? Greg Madsen 1st Thorley Guide pack Partly Clear 165
11th Feb The life cycle of stars Sonali Shukla 1st Bar Hill brownies Cloudy 160
18th Feb Building a universe in a year (talk designed for a half-term family audience) Zephyr Penoyre & the CHaOS crew - half term - Clear 290+
25th Feb A 'galactic hailstorm' in the early Universe Tiago da Costa Pdoc Cloudy 130
4th Mar What is the next window onto our Universe? Andrew Connolly 1st Swaffam Prior Scouts Clear 245
11th Mar Chemical Compositions of Extrasolar Planets Nikku Madhusudhan Science Festival Cloudy 100
18th Mar Dwarf planets of the Solar System Carolin Crawford Science Festival and BBC Stargazing LIve Cloudy 140
25th Mar Weird stars Sarah Smedley Clear 260