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Stargazing Lecture

Friday, September 4, 2020
7:00pm to 9:00pm
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Online Event
The Exceptional Astronomical Discoveries of the Ancient Greeks​
Michael Zhang, PhD Candidate, Department of Astronomy, Caltech,
  • Public Event

Because this is an online event, the in-person stargazing that normally follows events in this series will not be possible.

Join the YouTube Livestream here:

7:00–7:30 p.m. - Virtual Lecture
7:30–9:00 p.m. - Virtual Panel Q&A and Discussion

In 800 BC, the Greeks were eking out an existence in impoverished city states and infertile fields, the illiterate remnants of an apocalypse that destroyed their civilization 400 years prior.  They could not have imagined that they would rise from the ashes to become the premier civilization of the Mediterranean, spreading their new culture from Spain to India.  Greek innovations in politics, philosophy, and art would form the foundation of Western civilization.  Perhaps the most impactful Greek contributions were in science.  Far surpassing all other ancient civilizations, the Greeks used the scientific method to discover Earth's shape, measure its circumference, calculate the size and distance of the Moon, and debate whether Earth orbits the Sun.  I will tell the story of this remarkable civilization, discuss how they learned about the cosmos, and summarize the pivotal role their achievements played in kickstarting the Scientific Revolution and ushering in modernity.

About the Series

Stargazing Lectures are free lectures at a public level followed by a Q&A panel and guided stargazing with telescopes (weather permitting). All events are held at the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech. No reservations are needed. Lectures are 30 minutes; stargazing and panel Q&A last 90 minutes. Stay only as long as you want.

Stargazing is only possible with clear skies, but the lecture and panel Q&A takes place regardless of weather.

For directions, weather updates, and more information, please visit:

For more information, please contact Cameron Hummels by email at [email protected].