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Weather permitting, trained observers from the Cummins Planetarium will be on hand at various locations using a specially filtered telescope to provide free glimpses of sunspots and other features on the fiery surface of the Sun. Don't miss a rare opportunity to experience daytime astronomy!
Learn all about our parent star and its effects on the Earth at the Planetarium's newest show, Solar Superstorms.
Sidewalk Astronomy at City Lake ParkSaturday, March 19, 2016, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Sidewalk Astronomy at City Lake ParkSaturday, April 9, 2016, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Sidewalk Astronomy at the Imperial CentreSaturday, May 14, 2016, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Sidewalk Astronomy at City Lake ParkSaturday, August 13, 2016, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Stargazing events at Rocky Mount's City Lake Park, Braswell Memorial Library, the Imperial Centre, and other locations, introduce residents and visitors to the wonders of the night sky. Weather permitting, each month's viewing session features different observing targets as the sky changes overhead from one month to the next. Dress appropriately for changing seasonal temperatures and bring along flashlights, binoculars, or a telescope if you have them. Free guided constellation tours and beginner sky charts will be provided. Otherwise, plenty of telescopes and assistance are available from your hosts, the staff of the Cummins Planetarium and members of the Tar River Astronomy Club.
City Lake Star PartyCheck out the solar system's largest planet, Jupiter and the Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Our own Moon, roughly the same size as Jupiter's largest satellites, shines brightly in the constellation Cancer, not far from the Beehive Star Cluster.
Friday, March 18, 2016, 8:00-10:00 PM
2016 Statewide Star Party at City Lake ParkThis is our third year participating in the 2016 NC Science Festival, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This evening's gathering features special activities to engage families with the theme of "Finding Your Way in the Sky." Of course we'll provide telescopic views of the giant planet Jupiter, still beautifully placed in the constellation Leo. A thin crescent moon will be setting over the lake, and we may even spot the elusive planet Mercury. The early Spring sky holds other telescopic treasures including the Owl Nebula and more.
Friday, April 8, 2016, 8:00-10:00 PM
Imperial Centre Star PartyTonight's Star Party takes place in the Courtyard of the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, on the eve of International Astronomy Day. The Moon and Jupiter shine high overhead near the bright star Regulus, and some bright winter leftovers hang on low in the West. Observing targets will include the Owl Nebula and the Beehive Cluster.
Friday, May 13, 2016, 8:30-10:00 PM
City Lake Star Party & Meteor WatchSaturn is out - come marvel at its unforgettable ring system! The red planet Mars glows nearby in Scorpius, not far from its rival the red supergiant Antares. While the Moon will make viewing of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower a challenge, braver souls among us may wish to continue their own meteor observations later in the evening. But we'll get you started, with helpful tips on when and where to observe and a realistic idea of what to expect.
Friday, August 12, 2016, 8:30-10:00 PM