Carl Sagan Day

November 9

Center for Inquiry

Celebrate with Us!

Carl SaganPlease join us this November as we honor Carl Sagan and celebrate the beauty and wonder of the cosmos he so eloquently described.

Carl Sagan was a Professor of Astronomy and Space Science and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, but most of us know him as a Pulitzer Prize winning author and the creator of COSMOS. That Emmy and Peabody award-winning PBS television series transformed educational television when it first aired in 1980, but now, thirty years later, it's gone on to affect the hearts and minds of over a billion people in sixty countries.

No other scientist has been able to reach and teach so many nonscientists in such a meaningful way, and that is why we celebrate Dr. Sagan, remember his work, and revel in the cosmos he helped us understand.

About Carl Sagan Day

The Center for Inquiry and especially our sister organization, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, had the honor of working with Dr. Sagan for twenty years, from 1976, when he was one of the founding members of CSI (then known as CSICOP), to 1996, when he published the last of his many articles in Skeptical Inquirer, just months before he died.

In 2009, CFI Ft. Lauderdale, FLASH and other groups created the first Carl Sagan Day celebration for his birthday, November 9th, and the idea quickly spread around the world. Now groups from Australia to Alaska are planning star parties, astronomy lectures, science fairs, teacher workshops and more to say thanks to Dr. Sagan and bring his work to the next generation of "star stuff."

Celebrate with us!

Whether you're a CFI branch or an independent skeptics group, an astronomy club or a science department, a researcher, a teacher, or a student, let us know how you're planning to commemorate Carl Sagan Day and we'll add your event to our CSD calendar to help spread the word. Email your event information to CFI Outreach. Campus groups can get ideas for ways to celebrate on the CFI On Campus Carl Sagan Day Resource page.

Very special thanks to Ann Druyan and Druyan-Sagan Associates, Inc., for their gracious permission to use images and content from COSMOS, and for making it possible for so many CFI branches and campus groups to screen COSMOS for this special occasion. Learn more about Cosmos Studios at the Carl Sagan portal.

Who is Carl Sagan?

Carl Sagan at the VLACarl Sagan was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He was a consultant and adviser to NASA since the 1950's, briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo expeditions to the planets.

In addition to many other awards, Dr. Sagan was a recipient of the Public Welfare Medal, the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences, for "distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public welfare…Carl Sagan has been enormously successful in communicating the wonder and importance of science. His ability to capture the imagination of millions and to explain difficult concepts in understandable terms is a magnificent achievement."

A Pulitzer Prize winner for the book The Dragons of Eden: Speculations of the Evolution of Human Intelligence, Dr. Sagan was the author of many bestsellers, including Demon-Haunted World and Cosmos, which became the bestselling science book ever published in English. He received twenty-two honorary degrees from American colleges and universities for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment, and many awards for his work on the long-term consequences of nuclear war and reversing the nuclear arms race.

In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his "research transformed planetary science… his gifts to mankind were infinite."

Learn more at the Carl Sagan portal.

Upcoming Events

November 2, 2014 — Austin, TX

Sagan Day Celebration

Join Center for Inquiry–Austin on November 2, 2014 at Sherlocks Baker Street Pub as we honor Carl Sagan, one of the greatest science educators in modern times, and celebrate the beauty and wonder of the cosmos he so eloquently described.

November 3, 2014 — Panama City, FL

Carl Sagan Day: A Celebration of Science!

Monday - Thursday, November 3 - 6, Gulf Coast State College. All events are open to the public. Each event will be held at 12:30 PM on its respective day. And every event will include free snacks and beverages, provided by our college’s Student Government Association.

  • Tue, Nov. 4: Come play Science Trivia for prizes in the cafeteria.
  • Wed, Nov. 5: Enjoy free snacks and beverages while we watch the 1997 film Contact in SUE 232A.
  • Thu, Nov. 6: Celebrate Carl Sagan Day with us in ATC 302, as we present prizes for our Essay Contest winners, followed by a video presentation on Dr. Sagan and the scientific method.

If you have any questions, contact Jake Brown at

November 8, 2014 — Coconut Creek, FL

The Sixth Annual Carl Sagan Day

This Year’s Theme is COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey. Saturday, November 8, 2014 from noon to 6:00 PM at Broward College: North Campus: Omni Auditorium (Building 60). Sponsored by Center for Inquiry–Fort Lauderdale, Broward College and the James Randi Educational Foundation.

We have confirmed some speakers for our event. This year we are thrilled to have the following presenters:

  • Dr. Ethan Siegel, PhD. Dr. Siegel is an astrophysicist and science blogger at Starts With A Bang.
  • James “The Amazing” Randi. Randi is a world renowned master magician and tireless investigator and demystifier of pseudoscientific and paranormal claims.
  • Harold R. Wanless, Ph.D. Dr. Wanless is chairman and a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Cooper Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • NASA Scientists and experts. We have arranged to have NASA experts at our event as well.

November 8, 2014 — Indianapolis, IN

Cosmos Marathon

Center for Inquiry-Indiana, 350 Canal Walk, Suite A, Indianapolis. Continuous showing of the original Carl Sagan Cosmos.

Come and go as you like. Stay as long as you like. There will be pizza and snacks and of course apple pie. You may bring additional beverages and snacks. This is in celebration of Carl Sagan's birthday(November 9).

November 9, 2014 — Philadelphia, PA

Carl Sagan Night

Visible Friends and Skeptics In The Pub present CARL SAGAN NIGHT at National Mechanics on November 9. Party starts at 7:00 PM with music, videos and live art.

  • Hosted by Comedian Steve Gerben 
  • DJ sets throughout the night 
  • Screening of selected clips from the original Cosmos
  • Apple Pie Baking Contest & Carl Look-a-Like Contest
  • Live portrait artwork by Dave Mass & a raffle to win it
  • Suggested attire: turtleneck sweater and corduroy blazers.

November 15, 2014 — Clearwater, FL

Carl Sagan Day

Join Center for Inquiry–Tampa Bay and affiliate Tampa Bay Skeptics for Carl Sagan Day. Saturday, November 15, 2014, 12:30 PM. Tampa Bay Computer Society, 1510 Barry Road, Clearwater, FL.

This is a special occasion at the Tampa Bay Computer Society. It combines Carl Sagan Day with Skepticamp II.

  • Dr. Jonathan Smith – Florida Citizens for science 
  • Dave Dockery – Pres. Doc’s Socrates Café 
  • Dr. Jack Robinson – Emeritus Prof. Astronomy FSU. 
  • Jim Peterson – Pres. TBPCC on the Local & Global Environment from perspective of evolving universe 
  • Members of St Pete and Tampa Astronomy clubs 
  • Playing of excepts from Cosmos 
  • Several Telescopes will be available for viewing: SPARC will have a Solar Telescope. 
  • Light snacks will be available. 

Email your event information to CFI Outreach. Campus groups can get ideas for ways to celebrate on the CFI On Campus Carl Sagan Day Resource page.

© Center for Inquiry. All images used with permission.