Stellar Society Lecture

North Carolina Science Festival Events at GTCC

The Stellar Society Lecture is usually part of GTCC's annual schedule of N.C. Science Festival (NCSciFest) programs in April, but this year it will be held a few weeks early, on March 22. See details below.

Our official NCSciFest events in April 2024 are:

  • 8:30-10:30 p.m. April 5: Statewide Star Party Observing Session at Cline Observatory (weather permitting)
  • 1:30-4:30 p.m. April 8: Parking Lot F, Jamestown campus, Solar Eclipse Observing Session (weather permitting)
  • 6-8:30 p.m. April 19: Science Hall Open House – An evening of interactive science activities and demonstrations presented by our science faculty and students. Science Hall is building 24 on the Jamestown campus map. Use Parking Lot F.

Stellar Society Lecture on March 22

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. The event features an astronomer from a regional institution who gives a free public lecture on a Friday night before our regular public viewing. Though this event is usually in conjunction with the N.C. Science Festival, this year’s Stellar Society Lecture has been scheduled for March, to provide promotion for the upcoming International Dark Sky Week.

The 2024 Stellar Society Lecture will be at 7 p.m. March 22 in the Auditorium of Koury Hospitality Careers Center, Building 19 on the Jamestown campus map. (621 E. Main Street, Jamestown, NC 27282).

'Defending Dark Starry Skies: battles with LEDs on the ground and satellite constellations above'

Featuring Dan Caton, Ph.D., professor of astronomy and Director of Observatories at Appalachian State University

This event is made possible by the GTCC Foundation and GTCC's student astronomy club – the Stellar Society.

About the talk: Light pollution not only hides the stars from us, it affects human health and the health of many animals and plants. This presentation will feature a basic introduction and then an expansion on the new threats of LEDs that are now used in lighting, and constellations of thousands of internet satellites that leave streaks in astronomical pictures.

About the speaker: Daniel B. Caton, Ph.D., is a professor of astronomy and Director of Observatories at Appalachian State University. His primary research interest is in eclipsing binary stars, but he has a wide range of interests and has been active in battling light pollution since the 1980s. He serves on the Committee for the Protection of Astronomy and the Space Environment (COMPASSE) of the American Astronomical Society and is chairman of the North Carolina Section of Dark Sky International. Visit Caton’s website.


2023: Barbara Becker, University of California-Irvine, Retired, "Risky Business: Searching for the Soul of the Sun in the Shadow of the Moon" | View Recorded Presentation

2022: Paul Byrne, Washington University in St. Louis, "(Some) New Insights into the Geology of Venus" | View Recorded Presentation

2021: Ilse Cleeves, University of Virginia, "Planetary Origins: At Home and Abroad" | View Recorded Presentation

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"