Public Viewing

PUBLIC VIEWING SESSIONS

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.  Our sessions are unstructured – there’s no program – just telescopic viewing.

Note that the observatory is open to the night air, and so will be cold in the winter and warm in the summer. Be sure to dress for the 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 trenglish@gtcc.edu or 336-334-4822 Ext. 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.)

Public Viewing Schedule

Click on the links below to read viewing schedule.

September Sessions (Sessions start as darkness falls)
Date Featured Object Host
6 September Jupiter Gregory Brannon
13 September Double Star Albireo Dennis Hands
20 September Globular Cluster M13 Alec LaGrega
27 September

Exploring the Solar System

Viewing begins after the “Exploring the Outer Solar System” public lecture.
Jeff Swanson
Sessions Continue in October

October Sessions (Sessions start as darkness falls)
Date Featured Object Host
4 October Saturn Brian Morris
11 October The Moon Tim Martin
18 October Cat’s Eye Nebula Beth Desch
25 October Carbon Star T Lyrae Errika Wyatt
Sessions Continue in November

November Sessions (Sessions start at 7 p.m.)
Date Featured Object Host
1 November M57 – the Ring Nebula Jeff Swanson
8 November Perseus Double Cluster Robert Royals
15 November M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy Aaron Martin
22 November Fall Open Cluster Tour David Connor
29 November Galaxy NGC 7331 Joseph Holmes
Sessions Continue in December

December Sessions (Sessions start at 7 p.m.)
Date Featured Object Host
6 December Globular Cluster M15 Christina Guzik
13 December The Moon (Exploring Apollo Sites) Jeff Regester
20 December Galaxy M77 Miranda Williams
27 December M42 – The Orion Nebula Host TBA
Sessions Continue in January

Special Viewing Sessions – Eclipses, Transits, Etc.

Occasionally, Cline Observatory holds viewing sessions for special events such as eclipses, transits, or other remarkable astronomical phenomena. These sessions are presented in the same manner as our Friday public viewings, though if the situation requires, we may shift our portable telescopes to other locations on campus.

As with our Friday public viewings, all Cline Observatory special viewing sessions are free and open to anyone with an interest in astronomy.

Recent special sessions we have scheduled include:

  • Total Lunar Eclipse Jan. 20, 2019
  • Expedition to Newberry, SC for Total Solar Eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017
  • Partial Solar Eclipse Oct. 23, 2014
  • Venus Transit June 5, 2012
  • Lunar Eclipse Dec. 10, 2010 (cloudy)
  • Total Lunar Eclipse Feb. 21, 2008
  • Total Lunar Eclipse  March 3, 2007
  • Mercury Transit  Nov. 8, 2006 (cloudy)
  • Total Lunar Eclipse  Oct. 27, 2004
  • Venus Transit  June 6, 2004 (cloudy)

Transits of Venus & Mercury

Three hundred visitors came to GTCC to observe the 2012 Venus Transit – a phenomenon that will not be seen on Earth again until 2117. For more information about this event and other transits, see our Transits page.

Lunar and Solar Eclipses

Cline Observatory is open for viewing lunar and solar eclipses visible in our area. Details about upcoming eclipses will be posted on our Eclipses page.

Meteor Showers

Cline Observatory DOES NOT hold special sessions for meteor showers because they are best observed without telescopes, and are usually best seen from dark locations between midnight and dawn.

The American Meteor Society provides an annual meteor shower calendar,  guides to visual observation of meteors, and weekly updates on meteor activity.  The International Meteor Organization provides annual shower calendars, visual meteor observing resources, and regular outlooks on meteor activity.