Distant Aurora

Universe @ Home

The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics will continue our popular Universe @ Home series this Fall! These virtual events are intended to introduce the study of space and our Universe in a fun and engaging way, while providing a “peek behind the curtain” at modern research in astrophysics.
Each event will be presented on YouTube Live and will include a short talk on astronomy or space science, a Q&A session where you can ask questions of all kinds, and an activity that you can often try for yourself after the event ends. Events are designed for people of all ages and backgrounds, from families to seasoned scientists, and will include titles such as Black Holes, Neutron Stars, and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night and Hubble: The Extraterrestrial Observatory!  
Events will be held on some Tuesdays at 7:00 PM (see schedule below) starting October 5th and go through December 14th. You can join the events using the given YouTube Live links. You can also browse our past events by clicking the links below. We hope you’ll tune in!
For questions or more information please contact Sarah Taft (taft0028@umn.edu).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When are these events?
    Fall semester events will take place on some Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00 PM (see schedule below), starting October 5th and go through December 14th

  • What does a typical event look like?
    Usually, two or three presenters will begin streaming on YouTube Live at 7:00 PM. There is a live chat on YouTube available for the audience to leave comments or questions, which we will answer live throughout the event. To see an example of a past event, you can view our trial event.

  • How do I join?
    You can join using the YouTube Live link posted with each event.

  • I missed an event live! Can I still tune in?
    Yes! All past events are available on our Universe @ Home channel.

Upcoming Events: Fall 2021

Events for Spring 2022 TBD

Past Events

Tuesday, December 14th

Irregular Galaxies

Presenters: Derek Perera & Mason Huberty

What are irregular galaxies and why are they important to astronomy? In this presentation, we will discuss the fascinating science of irregular galaxies and why we should pay more attention to them!

Watch Here

Tuesday, November 30th


Presenters: Lindsey Gordon & Emma Martin

In this event, we will give an overview of exoplanets and the current census of their discoveries. We will also talk about the transit and radial velocity methods of detection of exoplanets.

Watch Here


Tuesday, November 16th


Presenters: Sarah Taft and Cristine Andrade

Like Earth, many planets in our solar system have moons, from Mars all the way out to Neptune. In this event, we will explore these moons, discussing their many interesting characteristics, including their formation, atmospheres, and potential to host life.

Watch Here

Tuesday, October 12

The Death of Stars

Presenters: Derek Perera and Tyler Barna

Supernovae, violent explosions that occur at the end of stars' lives, are some of the most energetic, transient processes in our universe. Despite being such important events, they are still not completely understood. We will explore the two main types of explosions in this event.

Watch Here

Tuesday, October 5

The Drake Equation and Extraterrestrial Life

Presenters: Sarah Taft and John Miller

We will start this semester's Universe @ Home events by talking about the Drake equation, a famous method used to analyze and estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations that could exist in the Milky Way Galaxy. Aspects of this equation include star formation, stars that host planets, and what planetary conditions are necessary to host life.

Watch Here