Monthly Tours

On the evening of the first Thursday of each month in downtown Toronto, we give you an hour with a young researcher, followed by planetarium shows and free observing through our telescopes.

Next Free Public Talk: 6 June


Is Space Exploration Beneficial to Humanity?

6 June 2013, 9:10pm

Room 102, McLennan Physical Laboratories Bldg.

60 St. George Street (north of College St.)

Plus, free planetarium shows and telescope observing sessions.

Complete details and schedule.

Sign up for the Planetarium Show!


The Talk

The ability to travel into space is fascinating and awe-inspiring. But, are there any practical advantages to space travel, besides the novel concept of being able to safely leave our planet? Do experiments done aboard the International Space Station, which has had over twelve years of active human occupation, help those of us still on Earth? What about exploration of other planets using probes and landers, can we learn anything that we can apply to our own planet? Finally is exploitation of Solar System bodies for financial purposes feasible? And why should you care? In this talk I will answer these questions, and discuss the many practical benefits of space exploration that go far beyond the novelty expressed by space enthusiasts.

Your Speaker

Yevgeni Kissin

Yevgeni Kissin completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in the Astronomy and Physics specialist program. He is currently in the third year of his PhD program, and is working on the outcomes of interactions between planets and the stars they are orbiting around. In his spare time he enjoys staying informed on current events happening around the world.


General Info about the Monthly Tours

This activity is run entirely by volunteers among the graduate students in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. Check their webpage, or get the three-part run-down below.

Our graduate students give you an hour with a young researcher — enough to answer all your questions about black holes and 2012, or to give you an idea of life in Antarctica. Because the speakers themselves are often students, they still remember how hard it is to get your head around these concepts the first time: everyone is encouraged to attend! Click here to see what the next talk is about.


You can access our rooftop observatory, thanks to the dedication of about a dozen astronomy graduate students. They will be your guides, pointing the telescopes in the right direction for you, and explaining why the objects you see are the way they are. But remember: one thing our crew cannot control is the weather. And because optical telescopes don′t let you to see through the clouds, you should check the weather forecast, both for visibility of the sky and for temperature: the telescope domes are open — not heated or conditioned. Click here to see when the next observing session is scheduled.
In our basement in downtown Toronto, and hooked to a joystick, are a computer and a projector inside a dark inflatable igloo. This gear allows Mike Williams — and the crew of Teaching Assistants he has trained — to fly students, visitors and schoolchildren (25 of them at a time) through the Universe. Along the way, the audience gets an idea of how the Universe all works and fits together. The software and joystick make for an interactive experience, as the show can be modified on the fly. Over 2,000 people have already been through the experience, and so can you, if you book a free seat for a show during the next Public Tour!