Stellar Society Lecture

2022 N.C. Science Festival Events at GTCC

Science Hall Open House, Friday, 22 April

Join GTCC's science faculty and students for an open house in Science Hall on our Jamestown campus, featuring interactive demonstrations in astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.

  • The event opens at 6 p.m. for solar observing (weather permitting), tours, and demonstrations.
  • There will be hands-on interactive sessions throughout the building from 6 -8:30 p.m.:
    • Fossils & Floods
    • Pendulum Painting
    • 3D Printing
    • Hands-on chemistry, anatomy & physiology experiments
  • Additional scheduled sessions will be offered on a rotating basis between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.:
    • Lives of Stars
    • The Magic of Chemistry
    • Fun with Static Electricity.
  • Weather permitting, Cline Observatory will open for public viewing, at the conclusion of the demonstration sessions (approximately 8:40 p.m.).
Science Hall (map building number 24) is at 1005 Bonner Drive in Jamestown. See our campus map for more information. This is a family-friendly event. Join us to experience the fun of science!

Statewide Star Party, Friday, 8 April

Visit Cline Observatory on 8 April for a free public viewing session (weather permitting), as part of the NC Science Festival's Statewide Star Party. Take a look through telescopes to get an up-close view of objects in the night sky!

This year's Statewide Star Party theme is "Understanding the Universe" and visitors will have a chance to get hands-on with activities related to the James Webb Space Telescope.

NCSciFest's annual Statewide Star Party is made possible through the generous support of the NC Space Grant.

Stellar Society Lecture, Friday, 1 April

Each year, typically in April, GTCCs student astronomy club, the Stellar Society, teams up with Cline Observatory and the GTCC Foundation to present the Stellar Society Lecture, featuring an astronomer from a regional institution to give a free public lecture on a Friday night before our regular public viewing. This event is usually held in conjunction with the North Carolina Science Festival, and is normally held in the Auditorium of Koury Hospitality Careers Center, on GTCC's Jamestown Campus. But this year, like in 2021, the lecture will be a virtual presentation.

Additional NC SciFest events at GTCC are listed below. This year’s Stellar Society Lecture will be a virtual presentation at 7 p.m. on Friday, 1 April:

"(Some) New Insights into the Geology of Venus"

Featuring Paul Byrne, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis


This event was made possible by the GTCC Foundation, GTCC's student astronomy club, the Stellar Society, and the N.C. Science Festival.

About the Talk: With three new Venus missions recently announced by NASA and ESA, attention is once more turning to the second planet. In the past few years, a view has emerged of a much more dynamic world than we once thought. In this talk, Byrne will present some new insights from recent studies he has led regarding the planet's volcanic, tectonic, and dynamic characteristics to understand Venus' past and present — which can be tested by the new NASA and ESA missions.

About the Speaker: Byrne received his Bachelor of Arts in geology and doctorate in planetary geology, from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He was a MESSENGER postdoctoral fellow at the Earth and Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and an LPI postdoctoral fellow at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining Washington University in St. Louis, he was an assistant and then associate professor at North Carolina State University.

Byrne's research focuses on comparative planetary geology — comparing and contrasting the surfaces and interiors of planetary bodies, including Earth, to understand geological phenomena at the systems level. Byrne's research projects span the solar system from Mercury to Pluto and, increasingly, to the study of extrasolar planets. He uses remotely sensed data, numerical and physical models, and fieldwork in analog settings on Earth to understand why planets look the way they do.

Visit Byrne’s website. Our speaker is very active on Twitter as @ThePlanetaryGuy, sharing images and explanations of a variety of solar system topics.

For a list of past Stellar Society Lecturers and their presentation topics, see the bottom of this page.


2021: Ilse Cleeves, University of Virginia, "Planetary Origins: At Home and Abroad"

2020:  Event canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic

2019: Alicia Aarnio, UNC-Greensboro, "Our Sun:  Then, Now, and What Might Be"

2018: Katherine J. Mack, North Carolina State University, "Dispatches from a Dark Universe"

2017: Stephen P. Reynolds, North Carolina State University, "Supernovae and You: Tracking Stellar Explosions through Their Remnants"

2016: Sarah Hörst, Johns Hopkins University, "Titan:  Ingredients for Life"

2015: Michael Solontoi, Lynchburg College, "Killer Death Rocks from Outer Space!"

2014: Jay Pasachoff, Williams College, "Transits of Venus:  Science and History"

2013: Stacy Palen, Weber State University, "The Life & Death of Stars"

2012: Enrique Gomez, Western Carolina University, "What is it about 2012? How We Misunderstand Ancient Maya Astronomy."

2011: Brad Newton Barlow, UNC-Chapel Hill, "Searching for Planets Using Pulsating Stars"

2010: Anne Verbiscer, University of Virginia, "Cassini’s Exploration of Enceladus, Saturn’s Active Icy Moon"