Starry Nights, a celebration of stargazing on one of the darkest stretches of the East Coast, is returning for its fifth year in Hatteras village, and this year’s event promises to be light-years beyond normal.
The event, (which will be held at the Hatteras Village Community Center on Saturday, February 15, from 2-8 p.m.), will serve as makeshift astronaut training grounds for young explorers who want to embark on a mission from Hatteras Island to the planet mars and galaxies beyond.
The event is sponsored by the Hatteras Village Civic Association, and is free to the island community.
With special visiting hosts from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center from UNC Chapel Hill, attendees can expect plenty of fascinating and fun events, including a mobile planetarium theater, hands-on science experiments, telescopes, and additional activities for children to explore the moon, mars, and the stars in their own sandy backyard.
Events planned for the Saturday afternoon and evening event include the following:
PLANETARIUM MOVIE SHOWINGS: 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
Enjoy a panoramic experience inside of the mobile planetarium, where the movie “Astronaut,” (narrated by Ewan McGregor and produced by the National Space Center), will be shown. Mimicking a rocket launch from inside the body of an astronaut, the incredible mobile planetarium screen will inspire anyone to launch their own intergalactic explorations.
SCIENCE ON YOUR STREET ACTIVITIES: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
A Morehead educator will guide attendees through a unique activity that will explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields such as chemistry and physics, as well as coding and engineering design. Hands-on experiences will encourage groups of all ages to discover STEM through the sheer power of curiosity.
LIVE TELESCOPE VIEWING: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Morehead educators will bring along the telescopes, and will guide attendees through fun observations of stars, planets, moons, nebulae and other celestial objects that are easily viewed from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There may even be a few meteors making a seasonal appearance! (Note that this activity is dependent on clear skies, and a live sky show inside the planetarium will be offered if it’s too cloudy outside for stargazing.)
Hatteras Island is fortunate enough to have one of the clearest skies in the country, which is why this event is a must for anyone who wants to garner a deeper appreciation of our night skies, and our home galaxy.