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.)

Public Viewing Schedule

Click on the links below to read viewing schedule.

August, 2017

August Sessions (Sessions start at Dark)
4 Aug Jupiter Hank Corbett
11 Aug M11 – The Wild Duck Cluster Kevin Erdy
18 Aug Globular Cluster M13 Christina Guzik
Note – Cline Observatory will not be open for the solar eclipse on 21 August
25 Aug Saturn Errika Wyatt

September, 2017

September Sessions (Sessions Start at Dark)
1 Sep Many Moons Tim Martin
8 Sep Double Star Albireo Beth Desch
15 Sep Astronomical Firsts Jeff Regester
22 Sep M31 – the Andromeda Galaxy
Session begins after
“History of the Universe” Lecture
Dennis Hands
29 Sep Blue Snowball Nebula Jeff Swanson

October, 2017

October Sessions (Sessions Start at Dark)
6 Oct Double Star Gamma Delphini Alec LaGrega
13 Oct Near to Far- Galaxy Edition Joseph Holmes
20 Oct Saturn David Connor
27 Oct Cline Observatory 20th Anniversary Celebration Tim Martin
Sessions will continue in November (Nov-Feb sessions start at 7PM)

November, 2017

November Sessions Sessions (Sessions Start at 7 p.m.)
3 Nov Double Star Albireo Errika Wyatt
10 Nov M27 – the Dumbbell Nebula Kevin Erdy
17 Nov Blue Snowball Nebula Aaron Martin
24 Nov Globular Cluster M15 Alec LaGrega
Sessions continue in December

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.