North Carolina Statewide Star Party: 45 Sites Offer Skywatching and Citizen Science the Same Night
As the kickoff to the 2013 North Carolina Science Festival, 45 sites across the state planned skywatching sessions for the public on April 5, 2013. The Statewide Star Party sites stretched across 500 miles, from the mountains to the Outer Banks, and included large cities as well as rural areas. Hosts included parks, planetariums, museums, nature centers, and universities. Many sites were aided by local amateur astronomers who provided their telescopes and expertise. Because the star party date fell during International Dark Sky Week and a GLOBE at Night citizen-science campaign, each host was encouraged to teach their audiences about light pollution and GLOBE at Night, and was provided with a kit of relevant materials to support them in planning their events and educating the public. Two hosts canceled their events because of poor weather. The 43 star party events that took place attracted 4,926 participants and were held in 31 counties across the state. The North Carolina Statewide Star Party will become an annual event during the North Carolina Science Festival. Other states and
regions are encouraged to plan similar star parties to help educate and inspire the public about astronomy and citizen science.