BY AMY SAYLE
Be part of North Carolina’s first-ever Statewide Star Party on Friday, April 5, 2013!
There are 45 star party sites across the state – hosted by astronomy clubs, parks, universities, planetariums, museums, nature centers, and others – who are providing telescopes and other activities for the public on April 5th.
Find a star party site near you at the NC Science Festival website (search the online calendar for April 5).
[Important: Before heading out to an event, we recommend confirming with the event host that the event is still on. Most events are weather-dependent. Although current predictions are for clear skies Friday evening across much of the state, at least one site decided to change to a later date based on earlier forecasts.]
So what are the top 3 reasons you should attend the April 5th North Carolina Statewide Star Party?
1) You can join others in enjoying the wonders of the night sky.
Virtually all sites are providing telescopes for you to look through. Many feature other activities as well. Depending on which star party event you choose, you may be hiking, canoeing, or making outer space crafts. Rumor has it that Galileo plans to attend one event.
1a) At a few events, you can also enjoy a wonder of the daytime sky: the Sun. Sites planning safe solar observing—if the weather permits—include Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center, Marbles Kids Museum, Medoc Mountain State Park, Pender High School (at Moore’s Creek Battlefield), and Yadkin County Park.
2) You can be a citizen scientist.
Thanks to funding from NC Space Grant and materials provided by GLOBE at Night, star party sites have been given kits that include a light pollution and shielding demo and information on how you can contribute to a worldwide map of light pollution.
By observing how many stars you can see in the constellation Leo the Lion, you can document the darkness of your sky—perfect timing for International Dark Sky Week, April 5-11. Learn more about the GLOBE at Night citizen-science project at a star party event, or on your own, and then go home to collect and report data on the darkness of the sky in your own neighborhood.
3) You can celebrate the kickoff of the 2013 North Carolina Science Festival.
The Statewide Star Party is just the beginning of more than two weeks of events celebrating science across the state. Check the NC Science Festival website for events near you happening between April 5 and 21, 2013.
Photo: How dark is your sky? Leo can tell you. (Credit: Stellarium.org)