Skywatching 101

Jordan Lake Skywatching

Maybe you’ve tried bird watching or stargazing, but have you ever tried skywatching? The Jordan Lake State Recreation Area and Morehead Planetarium are partnering up to offer you an unparalleled, stellar experience! With free sessions being offered every month, this event is sure to be an “out of this world” opportunity!

What to Expect:
Constellations

Join local Morehead educators and Chapel Hill Astronomical & Observational Society members in learning more about stars, planets, moons and much more through telescopes and observations. These casual sessions are welcoming to all interested participants and last up to two hours.

Throughout the session, you will have the opportunity to experience celestial life up close. One moment you could be taking the laser-guided “star tour” of the sky and the next, listening to ancient legends about constellations. Still confused about where to find your favorite constellation? Don’t forget to ask the astronomers onsite!

Of course, due to weather conditions and Earth’s rotation, you may notice that some celestial objects may not be visible during the entirety of the session.

Where to Go:
Skywatching

Typically, sessions will take place at the Ebenezer Church Recreation Area, which is part of the Jordan Lake Recreation Area. With restrooms, a picnic shelter and a beach area easily accessible, you will find a great natural setting for your skywatching experience! The telescopes will be located at the far west end of the parking lot.

You will find that Morehead Planetarium also hosts sessions at the Little River Regional Park or at the Stagville State Historic Site, among other locations. If you would like to request a skywatching session at another location, contact planets@unc.edu.

For directions to the Ebenezer Church Recreation Area, click here!

Frequently Asked Questions:
Skywatching

What will I see at a skywatching session?

Every session is different; so do not expect your visit to each session to be alike. Stars and constellations change on a monthly basis. Sessions are typically scheduled so the moon is visible, as well as at least one planet. You may also expect to see celestial objects from outside of the solar system.

Will I see the Milky Way?

You just might! Because the sky is still lightly polluted, Morehead Planetarium does not always experience the Milky Way.

Do I have to make a reservation?

No reservation is needed to participate!

Do I have to stay the whole time?

While you do not have to stay the whole time, Morehead Planetarium staff suggests that you do not arrive too early or stay late, as telescope operators are busy setting up and taking down equipment.

For more frequently asked questions, visit here!

Upcoming Schedule:

Skywatching at Jordan Lake
July 15, 2017 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Viewing: Jupiter and Saturn

Skywatching at Jordan Lake
August 12, 2017 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Viewing: Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn

Skywatching at Jordan Lake
December 13, 2017 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Viewing: Geminid Meteor Shower

For more information, visit http://moreheadplanetarium.org/programs/teen-adult-programs/skywatching.