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North Carolina Observatories


Did the thought of visiting and having fun in an observatory ever cross your mind? While geekiness may prevail in the idea of observing different terrestrial and celestial bodies, learning new things will always be an enjoyable experience. Remember knowledge on meteors, stars and everything on the atmosphere isn't exclusive for astronomers and meteorologists and other related scientists alone. Here are some of the observatories in North Carolina.

Located atop the Morehead Planetarium in the University of North Carolina at the Chapel Hill is the Morehead Observatory. It features a 24-inch Perkin Elmer Telescope, a reflecting telescope donated by the John Motley Morehead Foundation. The location is good enough to showcase clear skies that enable students to obtain data for their research. Morehead supports researches about bright star spectroscopy and optical counterparts of Gamma Ray Bursts. The Observatory is also open to the public every Friday evenings, inviting interested to take part in an astronomy presentation hosted by astronomy faculty members and graduate students. The program allows visitors to tour around the observatory and to ask questions and observe the moon, stars and planets directly through the telescope.



north carolina observatories - morehead observatory


Located in Rosman in Transylvania County is the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), a non-profit foundation that provides educational and research opportunities that dwell in the disciplines of science and technology, engineering and math. It features a NASA facility, the Rosman Satellite Tracking Station that is used for tracking manned and unmanned space flights during the 1960s and 1970s. To date, PARI has a number of telescopes devoted for radio astronomy (PARI JOVE Antenna, Virginia Tech Eight meter Transient Array, Meteor Reflections and more), optical observation (SPACE Observatory, Solar telescopes, West Optical Observatory and more) and earth sciences (Cosmic Ray monitor, Plate Boundary Observatory, weather stations and more). Guests can pay a visit and learn more about these instruments every second Friday of the month with the Evening at PARI program.


The program includes a tour of the institute, discussions on the recent advancements in astronomy, and the viewing of celestial bodies in their optical telescopes. PARI also welcome scheduled public tours on Wednesdays. The Space Day, an annual open house, is also held. For those who are just looking for a basic background in astronomy should go to Lucile Miller Observatory at Maiden High School, the first and only high school observatory in North Carolina. The observatory is part of the Catawba County School System, providing programs and events for people, not only for the youth and the academe, who have the interest to learn more about astronomy on its basic sense. They have a wide collection of telescope including "Hermann's Monster", a Newtonian Reflecting telescope and is the fourth largest amateur telescope in North Carolina, "Jagers 6 inch", a refractor best used for viewing nebulae and galaxies and a lot more. They don't charge on their presentations and they also offer travel arrangements for seminars outside the county.



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