Public Viewing Schedule

Cline Observatory

The Cline Observatory is open to the public for viewing every clear Friday night throughout the year.

The viewings begin ½ hour after sunset during March-October, and at 7:00 during November-February. (Determine sunset time for a particular date.)  Sessions usually last about two hours, but may run longer or shorter depending on interest and sky conditions.  Our sessions are  unstructured – there’s no program – just telescopic viewing.

Note that the observatory is open to the night air, and so will be cold in the winter and warm in the summer.  Be sure to dress for the conditions.

For updates regarding how weather or other issues will affect this week’s session, check our Twitter Updates Page @gtccastro.

For other questions about the observatory and its programs, contact Tom English at or GTCC extension 50023.

There is no charge for public night viewing and the observatory is open to anyone wishing to attend. No reservations are necessary, and there are no limits on the number of attendees. (We do ask that you let us know well ahead of time if you plan to bring a large group.)

Viewing Schedule

Date Featured Object Host
September Sessions  (Sessions start at dark)
4-Sep Double Star Albireo Beth Desch
11-Sep Planetary Nebula Tour Emily Ellis
18-Sep Saturn & the Moon Joseph Holmes
25-Sep Globular Cluster M13 Aaron Martin
27-Sep Total Lunar Eclipse
(Open 9 p.m. – Midnight)
Errika Wyatt
October Sessions (Sessions start at dark)
2-Oct M31 – the Andromeda Galaxy
Viewing begins after Lecture
Jeff Swanson
9-Oct Saturn Beth Desch
16-Oct M27 – the Dumbbell Nebula Hank Corbett
23-Oct Moon: Dawn at Copernicus Dennis Hands
30-Oct Double Cluster in Perseus Kevin Erdy
November Sessions (Sessions start at 7)
6-Nov Ice Giants:  Uranus & Neptune Tim Martin
13-Nov Globular Cluster M15 Christina Guzik
20-Nov Galaxy NGC 404 David Connor
27-Nov Open Cluster NGC 457 Host TBD
December Sessions (Sessions start at 7)
4-Dec Galaxy NGC 7331 Joseph Holmes
11-Dec The Blue Snowball Nebula Aaron Martin
18-Dec The Moon Host TBD
25-Dec R Leporis Dennis Hands

Featured objects listed on the calendar are possible highlights for the session, but many interesting objects are shown each session.

TelecospeOur Telescope

The observatory is equipped with a 24-inch PlaneWave CDK24 reflector (pictured below being lowered into the dome of the observatory on Wednesday, 14 May 2014) on a Mathis MI1000 high precision fork mount. Other 8-inch reflectors are set up outside the dome during viewing sessions if attendance warrants.

This telescope is one of the largest in operation in North Carolina.  It is currently the third largest permanently mounted optical telescope at an educational institution in the state, tied with the 24-inch at Morehead Observatory in Chapel Hill, and surpassed by the 32-inch telescopes at Three College Observatory operated by UNCG in Alamance County and Appalachian State University’s Dark Sky Observatory.  The Blue Ridge Astronomy Club, Mayland Community College, and Yancey County are building a Dark Sky Park that will feature a 34-inch telescope in a Dobsonian configuration.