NAGS HEAD — Bundle up and head to Jennette’s Pier to stargaze and learn more about the nocturnal environment during a special star party 6-9 p.m. Feb. 5, when all ages can gaze at the night sky and explore an indoor planetarium.
The event, hosted by A Time for Science, North Carolina Land of Water, the East Carolina University Integrated Coastal Programs and the Coastal Studies Institute, will feature interactive planetarium showings led by astronomer Brian Baker beginning at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Throughout the evening, there will be children’s activities, stargazing, telescopes and opportunities to explore the portable, indoor planetarium.
Funded by North Carolina Sea Grant and the North Carolina Space Program, the free program gives the public an opportunity to engage with the nocturnal environment in a new way with expert guidance and observational resources.
“The Star Party is during a new moon, which is the optimal time to observe the night sky,” Baker said. “You’ll see the stars as you’ve never seen them before. Folks can use our telescopes or even bring their own to receive guidance on how to use them, which can sometimes be intimidating.”
Baker studied astrophysics at Florida State University and has been teaching about the night sky for 11 years. He is now the astronomy and space science director at A Time for Science in Greenville. While the group travels for outreach events within their area, the Star Party is a rare treat for Dare County, according to the release.
The event complements the collaborative work of A Time for Science and North Carolina Land of Water, in which CSI researchers and community members have been making field observations to help map and characterize the landscape, soundscape and viewscape of the nocturnal environment across Tyrell, Washington and mainland Hyde and Dare counties.