A Night Under the Stars

The Clare Hall Postdoc Committee, in cooperation with the Institute of Astronomy and the Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge, organised “A Night Under the Stars” at the Institute of Astronomy on 3 November. We were delighted to welcome more than fifty members of the Clare Hall community at the event, including enthusiastic children and families with themed cupcakes and hot drinks, for two hours of astronomy talks and telescope tours.

Clare Hall postdoctoral members Marco Tazzari (Institute of Astronomy) and Ricardo Chavez (Kavli Institute of Cosmology Cambridge) spoke on the formation of stars and planets, and the development of galaxies after the Big Bang, all of which stimulated pointed questions from the audience.

An overcast sky, unfortunately, prevented sky-watching using the Institute of Astronomy's 16-inch telescope.  But Clare Hall postdoctoral member Davide Fiacconi (Institute of Astronomy) and Girish Kulkarni (Institute of Astronomy) gave us a tour of the historic Northumberland Telescope, with its quaint accoutrements such the telescope tube made of Norwegian fir and an adjustable observing chair.  This telescope was presented to the University in 1833 and was for a brief period one of the world's largest refracting telescopes.

When asked what they liked about the evening, one participant remarked, “Everything except the weather.”