GTCC to Host Annual Astronomy Festival

Published on: February 26, 2019

JAMESTOWN, N.C. — Guilford Technical Community College will host its annual astronomy festival, TriStar, March 1-2 on GTCC’s Jamestown Campus. The event gathers astronomy enthusiasts, from novice to professional, for a full day of presentations, displays and observing. It is free and open to the public.

“The TriStar festival of astronomy brings together astronomy enthusiasts from across North Carolina and the surrounding states to share ideas, learn about a range of astronomical topics, get together with old friends and make new ones,” said Tom English, astronomy professor and director of the Cline Observatory at GTCC.

 TriStar kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, with the lecture, “Variable Stars and their Stories” by Dr. Stella Kafka, director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). Her lecture will focus on these intriguing stars and how their study helps astronomers measure distances across the universe and determine the way stars live and die. 

Since 2015, Dr. Kafka has directed the AAVSO, an organization of observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy. The AAVSO is an international collaboration of observers who regularly monitor hundreds of thousands of stars.

The free lecture will be held at the Joseph S. Koury Auditorium on GTCC’s Jamestown Campus. After the lecture, the Cline Observatory will be open for observing, weather permitting.

TriStar continues 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, March 2, with a series of speakers, astronomy demonstrations and displays, prize drawings, “how-to” guidance for budding astronomers, an astroimaging contest, as well as daytime and nighttime observing sessions at the Cline Observatory. Presentations scheduled during TriStar will feature topics on missions to study asteroids and the sun and observations of other solar systems. A complete schedule of presentations for TriStar 2019 can be found here.

For more information, please contact Tom English, professor of astronomy at GTCC and director of Cline Observatory, at or 336-334-4822, ext. 50023.

Event Details


GTCC and the Cline Observatory presents TriStar, an annual astronomy festival featuring presentations, displays and observing sessions.


7 p.m. Friday, March 1: “Variable Stars and their Stories,” presented by Dr. Stella Kafka, Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. The Cline Observatory will be open after the talk (weather permitting).

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, March 2: A wide range of lectures, demonstrations, displays and observing sessions (weather permitting).


All events will take place at the Joseph S. Koury Auditorium, Jamestown Campus, 601 E. Main St., Jamestown, North Carolina. Parking available in Lot F.


TriStar is free and open to the public.

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