Star Attraction

Go to Harvard and reach for the stars. Literally.

Observing

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our mother always told you to go to Harvard and reach for the stars, right? Well, here’s the cheap and easy way to do it: Join the free monthly stargazing on the third Thursday of every month (except in June, July, and August) at the Harvard College Observatory. The university opened the observatory grudgingly in 1839 when a clockmaker named William Cranch Bond donated his equipment and agreed to work as the director of astronomy—without pay. It’s home to a 15-inch-diameter telescope called the Great Retractor built in 1847 and for 20 years the biggest in the United States. Each monthly observatory night includes a public presentation by professional astronomers, authors, and others. They’re all free. So is the parking. There is intelligent life in the universe! Healy

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The first permanent observatory in America was installed in a church steeple—at Yale—10 years before Harvard’s opened.

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