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Statewide 'star party' kicks off NC Science Festival

Posted April 8

The North Carolina Science Festival kicks off Friday with the fourth annual Statewide Star Party, among the largest of its kind across the country. Experienced amateur astronomers will be providing telescopes for visitors at 50 locations across the state to observe the moon, Jupiter and more. In addition to observing, there will be activities for all ages at each site supporting this year’s theme, “Find Your Way in the Sky.”

Sky watching events span from the Jackson County Airport hosted by Western Carolina University’s Department of Chemistry and Physics to an event sponsored by the North Carolina aquariums at the Nags Head Woods Preserve in Hill Devil Hills on the eastern edge of our state.

Here in the Triangle there are events Friday at the American Tobacco Trail in Apex, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Prairie Ridge Ecostation near the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, Umstead State Park in Raleigh, Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Wake Forest, Duke University Teaching Observatory in northern Durham, Little River State Park in Durham and Eno River State Park in Durham. UNC Science Expo offers fun Star parties to train rides: N.C. Science Festival kicks off this weekend

The Cape Fear Botanical Garden hosts an event Friday night. Methodist University and Fayetteville State University are partnering to host star watching at Jordan Soccer Complex in Fayetteville Friday night as well. In Southern Pines, the staff at Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve is hosting an event Friday night.

The weather might be an issue for Friday’s events with clouds forecast to increase until about midnight. Check the NC Science Festival website for details including any information on rain/cloud dates.

Saturday's weather looks much better with clear skies forecast for the event in Garner at Lake Benson Park and Jordan Lake’s Ebenezer Church Recreation Area in Apex. North Carolina Central University also sponsors an event at Old North Durham Park Saturday night.

The forecast also looks great for Saturday's signature UNC Science Expo on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. More than 100 demonstrations, hands-on experiments, lab tours, stage entertainment are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. NC Science Festival events continue throughout the week across all 100 counties.

Tony Rice is a volunteer in the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador program and software engineer at Cisco Systems. You can follow him on twitter @rtphokie.


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