Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Presents the 2020 “Exploring Space Lecture Series”

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum announces the 2020 “Exploring Space Lecture Series.” This year’s four-part series will look at the universe through a variety of lenses. Each of the lectures will take place at 8 p.m. in the museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater and all are free to the public. Lectures will be followed by night-sky observation in the museum’s Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory, weather permitting.

The National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at 655 Jefferson Drive. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking before 4 p.m. at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

One hundred years ago, astronomers using optical telescopes questioned whether the universe was composed of stars, or of systems of stars called galaxies. Since then, this “Great Debate” has shifted to more and more precise questions. The 2020 Exploring Space Lecture Series will feature discussions on the mysteries of the Sun, new information on black holes, and the roles that the Spitzer and Event Horizon telescopes have played in shaping the parameters of this constantly-evolving debate.

Using the Event Horizon Telescope, scientists obtained this image of the black hole at the center of galaxy M87, outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon.

Scheduled Programs

Feb. 11: “The Sun in a New Light”

  • Mark Cheung, senior staff physicist at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center

Mar. 18: “More Things in the Heavens: Infrared Exploration with the Spitzer Space Telescope”

  • Michael Werner, Spritzer Space Telescope project scientist

Apr. 24: “When Did the Universe Begin?”

  • Wendy Freedman, John and Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago

May 14: “Seeing the Unseeable: Capturing an Image of a Black Hole”

  • Sheperd Doeleman, founding director of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

The series is made possible by the support of Aerojet Rocketdyne and United Launch Alliance.

For more information on each lecture and to request free tickets, visit: The lectures will also be webcast at