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Skywatching

Morehead hosts free skywatching sessions every month (weather permitting). Morehead educators and CHAOS members (from Chapel Hill Astronomical & Observational Society) bring telescopes and guide you through fun observations of stars, planets, moons, nebulae and other celestial objects. You might even see a few meteors!

What Happens at a Skywatching Session?

Skywatching sessions are very informal and family-friendly. Each session is scheduled for two hours, but you can arrive and leave at any time during the session. During the evening, you might do any of these things:

  • Peek through telescopes for up-close views of celestial objects
  • Take a laser-guided "star tour" of the night sky
  • Learn where to look for major constellations
  • Listen to legends told by ancient cultures about the constellations
  • Ask the astronomers for answers to all the astronomy questions you have!

Still have questions about Skywatching? Check out our Skywatching FAQs.

Please note: Because of Earth's rotation, some sky objects may be visible during only part of a skywatching session, depending on the times they rise and set.

Skywatching Sites

Morehead skywatching sessions are typically held at three different locations: Ebenezer Church Recreation Area, part of Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. This site has restrooms, a picnic shelter and a sandy beach area. You'll find the telescopes at the far (west) end of the parking lot. Click here for directions for Ebenezer Church Recreation Area; Little River Regional Park, off Guess Road at the Durham/Orange county border. Click here for directions to Little River Regional Park; and Dorothea Dix Park located in downtown Raleigh, near Umstead Dr. Click here for directions for Dorothea Dix Park.

Skywatching sessions may also be hosted at Stagville State Historic Site and other area locations. To request a skywatching session at another location, contact planets@unc.edu.

Check the Weather

It's hard to see stars through a cloud cover, so Morehead cancels skywatching sessions if the weather forecast predicts stormy or cloudy conditions. Cancellation decisions are made as soon as possible -- at least two or three hours in advance.

To see any cancellation notices, check Morehead's Twitter and Facebook news feeds. You can also call Morehead Guest Relations at 919-962-1236 to check on the status of any skywatching session.

More Info

Schedule

Skywatching at Dorothea Dix Park

Viewing: Geminid meteor shower. Please register in advance for this amazing event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/explore-dorothea-dix-park-skywatching-the-geminid-edition-tickets-40033416025?aff=es2

Dec 13 2017 -
8:00pm to 10:00pm

Skywatching at Little River

Join us a Little River Regional Park for some exciting skywatching.

Jan 26 2018 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Stagville Under the Stars

At Historic Stagville in Durham, we'll be telling African sky stories, followed by skywatching. 

Feb 23 2018 - 6:00pm

Skywatching at Little River

Join us at Little River Regional Park for a stargazing.

Mar 23 2018 -
8:00pm to 10:00pm