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 Video
3rd Oct What on Earth is dark energy? Matt Bothwell 3rd Saffron Walden Brownies Clear 171 watch
10th Oct Touching the Sun Carolin Crawford Jeremiah Scout group Clear 216 watch
17th Oct Galactic mega-cities: A short story on galaxy clusters Catrina Diener 1st Caxton Brownies Partly Clear 98 watch
24th Oct Where are the Aliens? Ryan MacDonald *** Half Term *** Clear 284 watch
31st Oct The Birth and Death of Stars Robin Catchpole Cloudy 117 watch
7th Nov Mapping the Galaxy with Gaia Francesca De Angeli 1st Stukeley Meadows Cubs Partly Clear 117 watch
14th Nov How Supermassive Black Holes Talk to Their Host Galaxies Martin Bourne Soham Brigades Clear 223 watch
21st Nov Tales of Exploding Stars Avishai Gilkis 7th Royston Barkway Cubs Clear 162 watch
28th Nov Hidden Monsters: Supermassive Black Holes Lurking in the Dust Manda Banerji 2nd St Neots scouts Raining 84 watch
5th Dec A journey from your backyard to the stars Ghina Halabi Raining 71 watch
12th Dec Mysterious Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) Anastasia Fialkov Cloudy 114
19th Dec You are what you eat: what can the chemistry of a planet tell us about its origins? Mihkel Kama Cloudy 84 watch
Date Talk Title Speaker Group Booking Weather No. of Visitors Handout Video
9th Jan The First Supermassive Black Holes: Where did they come from and how did they get so big? Colin DeGraf Beal High School Cloudy 104 watch
16th Jan Challenging Einstein with gravitational lensing Alessio Spurio Mancini Shelford and Stapleford Scouts Partly Clear 106 watch
23rd Jan How far away are the stars? Matt Bothwell 1st Newport (Essex) Scouts Clear 149 watch
30th Jan 'Oumuamua, interstellar traveller Carolin Crawford 5th Soham Brownies Clear 146 watch
6th Feb Are we alone? Robin Catchpole 1st Papworth Cub Scouts Cloudy 152
13th Feb Why I haven't been to space Zephyr Penoyre 12th Cambridge Beaver Colony Clear 204 watch
20th Feb Telescopes as Time Machines Anton Baleato Lizancos *** Half Term *** Partly Clear 210 watch
27th Feb How to grow a massive star Nina Sartorio Clear 226 watch
6th Mar Discovering New Worlds with Europe's Gaia and PLATO Space Missions Nic Walton Evergreen Elfins Cloudy 102
13th Mar Life on Mars? Exploring 200 Years of Our Fascination with the Red Planet Josh Nall *** Cambridge Science Festival *** Clear 265 watch
20th Mar The future of lunar exploration Carolin Crawford *** Cambridge Science Festival *** Partly Clear 184 watch