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Wave hello to people in outer space (at May 18th skywatching, Dorothea Dix Park)

May 15 2019 - 6:06pm

Above: The Expedition 59 crew includes Christina Koch (far right in the image), who considers Jacksonville, North Carolina, to be her hometown. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

 

BY AMY SAYLE

Want to wave hello to someone in outer space?

You have several chances coming up, including during our skywatching session this Saturday evening (May 18, 2019) at Dorothea Dix Park, when the International Space Station (ISS) is predicted to pass almost directly over the park.

You're invited to a Star Party! April 12 & 13, 2019

Mar 31 2019 - 12:46pm

BY AMY SAYLE

North Carolina hosts the biggest* statewide star party for the public in the entire universe—and you’re invited!

The 7th annual NC Statewide Star Party happens on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, 2019, when 54 hosts across the state, from the mountains to the coast, offer skywatching events for the public. These Star Party hosts include parks, libraries, historic sites, nature centers, museums, planetariums, and colleges and universities. Many of the events are free.

January 20-21 lunar eclipse: This is worth staying up late for, North Carolina

Jan 14 2019 - 10:36am

 

BY AMY SAYLE

On late Sunday evening, January 20, 2019, into early Monday morning the 21st, you can watch the full moon pass into Earth’s shadow: a lunar eclipse.

The main action starts Sunday night, Jan. 20, with a partial eclipse beginning at 10:33 p.m. The eclipse will be total from Sunday 11:41 p.m. to Monday 12:43 a.m., then it becomes partial again, ending at 1:50 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21. (All times Eastern.)

Here’s why this lunar eclipse is worth staying up for, North Carolina.

9 tips for viewing the 2018 Geminid meteor shower

Dec 11 2018 - 12:40pm

BY AMY SAYLE​

If the weather behaves later this week, you have an opportunity for a sky show at a reasonable hour. One of the best meteor showers of the year – the Geminid meteor shower -- will peak Thursday night, Dec. 13, 2018.

Meteors, sometimes misleadingly called “shooting stars,” are streaks of light caused by cosmic debris interacting with Earth’s atmosphere. Typically, this debris has been left by a comet. In the case of the Geminids, the source is an asteroid, 3200 Phaethon.

Viewing tips:

1) Check the weather.

Your Checklist For Viewing the 2018 Perseid Meteor Shower

Aug 10 2018 - 9:38am

 

(Photo Credit: Stellarium)

BY AMY SAYLE​

The annual Perseid meteor shower is underway and is predicted to peak the night of August 12/13, 2018. That’s Sunday evening into very early Monday morning.

Here’s a checklist for getting the most out of your Perseids viewing this year:

1) Know what you’re looking for.

How to find Mars in the sky

Jul 27 2018 - 4:48pm

BY AMY SAYLE

The bright point of light in the west after sunset is Venus

Jun 7 2018 - 11:28am

BY AMY SAYLE

Have you been noticing a very bright point of light in the western sky after sunset? It’s Venus. (Unless it’s noticeably moving, in which case it’s probably an airplane.)

If you haven’t seen Venus yet, try going outside in evening twilight and looking toward the same direction that the Sun set. As long as clouds, trees, or buildings don’t block your view, you’ll see Venus. This planet is very bright, noticeably brighter than any star in the night sky. But don’t mistake it for bright Jupiter, which lies in the southeast at nightfall.

You're invited to the biggest Statewide Star Party in the universe

Apr 17 2018 - 11:21am

BY AMY SAYLE

North Carolina hosts the biggest* statewide star party for the public in the entire universe—and you’re invited!

The 6th annual NC Statewide Star Party happens on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, 2018. Thirty-seven hosts across the state, from the mountains to the coast, will offer skywatching events for the public on April 20 or 21. These hosts include astronomy clubs, parks, libraries, nature centers, and universities.

 

NEVER AGREE TO MARRY THE NORTHERN LIGHTS (and other life lessons from Valentine sky stories)

Feb 7 2018 - 5:33pm

BY AMY SAYLE

My all-time favorite show to present is Carolina Skies: Valentine edition. In this live, storytelling-focused planetarium show for adults, you’ll discover a few of the love stories from around the world that are playing out in the sky each night.

Not only do these stories provide an excellent excuse for learning to identify stars and constellations, they offer intriguing life lessons. Bring a date or a friend or just yourself, and find out:

“Super blue blood moon?” What North Carolinians can--and can’t--expect to see from the Jan. 31, 2018 lunar eclipse

Jan 29 2018 - 3:23pm

BY AMY SAYLE

You may have heard about a “super blue blood moon” in reference to the lunar eclipse happening this Wednesday morning (January 31, 2018).

Before we get to tips for observing the eclipse, let’s break down that sensational-sounding phrase:

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