One upside to the shorter fall and winter days is that the sun goes down earlier so you can see the stars in the sky.
As many know, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center offers regular night sky viewing events, which are free and open to the public and all ages. Click here to see the schedule. The next one is Saturday.
Prairie Ridge Ecostation, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' outdoor lab and classroom in west Raleigh, also will offer an astronomy night, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday. The free event is open to all ages. Kids under 15 must be with an adult.
The Raleigh Astronomy Club will bring out their telescopes to view the winter night sky features, including the Andromeda Galaxy, the Orion Nebula and the Ring Nebula. Experts will be on hand to tell you what you're looking at and answer questions about astronomy or telescopes (which might come in handy if a telescope is on somebody's wish list).
Bring a flashlight. A blanket and hot, non-alcoholic beverages probably aren't a bad idea either. Click here for more information.