Public Viewing Schedule
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.
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 email@example.com 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.)
|July Sessions||Note: during Mar-Oct, sessions begin as darkness falls, weather permitting|
|3 July||Jupiter & Venus||Hank Corbett|
|10 July||M57 – the Ring Nebula||Aaron Martin|
|17 July||Life of a Star||Joseph Holmes|
|24 July||M51 – the Whirlpool Galaxy||Hank Corbett|
|31 July||Far to Near||Dennis Hands|
|7 August||Cat’s Eye Nebula||Jeff Swanson|
|14 August||Summer Globular Clusters||Tim Martin|
|21 August||M11 – the Wild Duck Cluster||Errika Wyatt|
|28 August||Saturn||Christina Guzik|
|4 September||Double Star Albireo||Beth Desch|
|11 September||Planetary Nebula Tour||Emily Ellis|
|18 September||Saturn & the Moon||Joseph Holmes|
|25 September||Globular Cluster M13||Aaron Martin|
|Sessions continue on Fridays in October – a specific schedule will be posted later.
Our Fall Astronomy Day Lecture will be held Friday, 2 October, with observing afterward.
Featured objects listed on the calendar are possible highlights for the session, but many interesting objects are shown each session.