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Sights on the skies with summer stargazing

Join local astronomers or head to area observatories for a new view of the night sky.

Visitors look through large telescopes in red lighting during a stargazing event at lookout observatory at unc asheville.jpg

Stargazing events are out of this world.

Photo courtesy of UNC Asheville

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No need to spend the last days of summer hiding inside from the heat — instead, we suggest an activity that gets you out after the sun goes down. The Astronomy Club of Asheville and area observatories open up the wonders of the night sky for those ready for a little stargazing.

Search the skies

The nonprofit Astronomy Club invites the public to observe the universe at their twice-monthly stargazes. The next stargaze will take place on Friday, Aug. 11 at Grassland Mountain Observatory, located in Madison County and owned + operated by the club. This event is free with no registration. If the night is clear, you might be able to see the Perseid Meteor Shower.

The club will also host a public stargaze with UNC Asheville on Friday, Aug. 18 at the Lookout Observatory on campus. The event is also free but requires registration. The astronomers will set up equipment a little before sunset, and the observations typically end about three hours after the sun goes down.

There’s no need to have your own telescope or astronomical knowledge before attending — stargazes are open no matter age or interest level. You won’t know ahead of time what you may see through your telescope, like far-off stars, galaxies, nebulae, or planets.

Take a tour

You can request a private stargaze with the Astronomy Club and have a two-hour tour of the night sky.

Area observatories can also show you the world behind astronomical research. Mayland Community College’s Bare Dark Sky Observatory in Burnsville has regular events, with observatory managers educating visitors as they see the stars. Down in Rosman, the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) hosts a variety of tours all around their facility as well as public and private stargazes.

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