Stellar Society Lecture

North Carolina Science Festival Events at GTCC

The Stellar Society Lecture is part of GTCC's annual schedule of North Carolina Science Festival (NCSciFest) Programs. Specific dates for these events vary from year to year, but we have consistently offered the following programs during the month of April:

  • Friday, 14 April, 6-8:30 p.m., 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.
  • Friday, 21 April, 8:30-10:30 p.m., Statewide Star Party.
  • Friday, 28 April, 7 p.m., Stellar Society Lecture – A free public lecture given by a noted astronomer. See information about the 2023 lecture below.

Stellar Society Lecture, Friday, 28 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.

The 2023 Stellar Society Lecture will be held in Koury Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Friday, 28 April:

"Risky Business: Searching for the Soul of the Sun in the Shadow of the Moon"

Featuring Barbara Becker, Ph.D., University of California – Irvine, Retired

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: Throughout the 19th century, astronomers, both professional and amateur felt pressed to see and record as many eclipses as possible. It was a risky business they pursued with great zeal. Who organized and participated in these expeditions? How were they funded? What physical, theoretical and instrumental challenges did participants encounter? How did their observations contribute to our modern understanding of the Sun?

About the Speaker: Barbara J. Becker, Ph.D., is the author of the award winning biography of English amateur astronomer, William Huggins: Unravelling Starlight: William and Margaret Huggins and the Rise of the New Astronomy. Until her retirement in 2008, she taught the history of science at the University of California, Irvine.

Visit Becker's website.

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


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"