Home » Programs » Teen & Adult Programs » Skywatching

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

INTERNATIONAL OBSERVE THE MOON NIGHT!

You must register for this event here

Join MPSC Educators, along with Local Astronomy Clubs (RAC and CHAOS) at Dorothea Dix Park for stargazing. Some targets include the Moon (60% illuminated,) Saturn, and deep-sky objects. You'll alos be able to enjoy storytelling from MPSC educators, Food Trucks (details to come on these)

 

Oct 28 2017 -
7:30pm to 10:30pm

Skywatching at Little River

Join us at Little River Regional Park for a stargazing with an emphasis on the Full Moon (99% illuminated)! Viewing will include: Saturn, Features of the Moon, and a few of the brighter Deep-Sky objects.

Nov 3 2017 -
8:00pm to 10:00pm

Skywatching at Jordan Lake

Viewing: Geminid meteor shower

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

Stagville Under the Stars

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

Feb 23 2018 - 6:00pm