Public Viewing Schedule


The Cline Observatory is open to the public for viewing every clear Friday night throughout the year.

The viewings begin ½ hour after sunset during March-October, and at 7:00 during November-February. (Determine sunset time for a particular date.)  Sessions usually last about two hours, but may run longer or shorter depending on interest and sky conditions.

For updates regarding how weather or other issues will affect this week's session, check our Twitter Updates Page @gtccastro.

For other questions about the observatory and its programs, contact Tom English at or GTCC extension 50023.

There is no charge for public night viewing and the observatory is open to anyone wishing to attend. No reservations are necessary, and there are no limits on the number of attendees. (We do ask that you let us know well ahead of time if you plan to bring a large group.)

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Date Featured Object Host

January Sessions Note: during Nov-Feb, sessions begin at 7:00 p.m., weather permitting
2 January
Open Cluster M34
Jeff McCandless
9 January
The Double Cluster in Perseus
Emily Ellis
16 January
M42 - the Orion Nebula
Aaron Martin
23 January Open Clusters in Auriga
Beth Desch
30 January
M44 - the Beehive Cluster
Christina Guzik

February Sessions
6 February M31 - the Andromeda Galaxy Dennis Hands
13 February The Eskimo Nebula Jeff Swanson
20 February Open Cluster NGC 2362 Joseph Holmes
27 February Many Moons... Tim Martin

Featured objects listed on the calendar are possible highlights for the session, but many interesting objects are shown each session.

Our Telescope

The observatory is equipped with a 24-inch PlaneWave CDK24 reflector (pictured below being lowered into the dome of the observatory on Wednesday, 14 May 2014) on a Mathis MI1000 high precision fork mount. Other 8-inch reflectors are set up outside the dome during viewing sessions if attendance warrants.

This telescope is one of the largest in operation in North Carolina.  It is currently the third largest permanently mounted optical telescope at an educational institution in the state, tied with the 24-inch at Morehead Observatory in Chapel Hill, and surpassed by the 32-inch telescopes at Three College Observatory operated by UNCG in Alamance County and Appalachian State University's Dark Sky Observatory.  The Blue Ridge Astronomy Club, Mayland Community College, and Yancey County are building a Dark Sky Park that will feature a 34-inch telescope in a Dobsonian configuration.


Last update 12/18/2014