The 2024 TriStar will be an in-person event at GTCC on March 2

Traditionally, The Triad Starfest, *Tri*Star* for short, is a conference of astronomers of all types, from novice to professional, for a full day of presentations, displays, and observing, held in Koury Hospitality Careers Center on the Jamestown, N.C., campus of Guilford Technical Community College.

The event allows astronomy enthusiasts to share ideas, learn about a range of astronomical topics, get together with old friends, and make new ones. TriStar draws astronomers from North Carolina and surrounding states and also features an astro-imaging contest and prize drawings. The event is brought to you by GTCC's Cline Observatory and the Greensboro Astronomy Club.

TriStar is free and open to the public. There is no registration; just sign in when you arrive. Join us on Saturday, March 2, for a day of astronomical fun and fellowship.

Show off your images! The Greensboro Astronomy Club will stage the Dennis Hands Memorial Astro-imaging Contest at this year's event. Bring your best images (limit 3) taken since March 2023. Categories for judging: Deep Sky, Solar System, and Other.

Contest rules and an entry form will be available online soon and will be available on-site at the event. Download rules and entry forms here or pick on up on site at the event. Contact Paul Patterson if you have questions.

2024 Schedule

TriStar 2024 is a Saturday-only event on 2 March 2024. There will NOT be a Friday pre-TriStar public lecture this year.


Jason Ybarra (Davidson College), "The Demon’s Head: The History of Observation of Algol" | Watch recorded presentation

Jessica Noviello (NASA Goddard), "Cryovolcanism in the Solar System: The Coolest Geologic Process" | Watch recorded presentation

Diana Hannikainen (Sky & Telescope Observing Editor), "The Radio Sky: How We Capture Cosmic Radio Waves." After the talk, the Q&A will be extended for an open discussion about the world of Sky & Telescope. | Watch recorded presentation

Britt Lundgren (UNC-Asheville), "Galaxies in Silhouette: Using distant Quasars to Illuminate the Gaseous Processes That Shape Galaxies" | Watch recorded presentation

James Lowenthal, Smith College, "Satellite Mega-Constellations and the Night Sky"

Michael Puzio, OSIRIS-REx Mission Ambassador, "Bennu: There and Back Again"

Jonathan Ward, FRAS, JPL Solar System Ambassador, "Lunar Exploration: Past, Present, and Future"

Katie Mack, NC State University, "Physics at the End of the Universe"

Mike Malaska, NASA/JPL, "Looking for Life in the Ocean Worlds of our Solar System"

Patrick Treuthardt, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, "Spiral Graph: a Citizen Science Project with a Twist"

Johnny Horne, Sky & Telescope/Fayetteville Observer, "Astronomical Imaging Retrospective… and a Look Ahead"

David DeVorkin, Smithsonian Institution, "In the Grip of the Big Telescope Age: From Herschel to Hale"

Jack Howard, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, "Astronomy in Chile: Clear Skies, Monster Scopes, and Astrotourism"

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday AAS Shapley Lecture:
Stella Kafka, Director, AAVSO, "Variable Stars and their Stories"

Mike & Larry Puzio, OSIRIS-REx Ambassadors, "OSIRIS-REx Arrival at Asteroid Bennu"

Ward Howard, UNC-Chapel Hill, "Do Superflares Make Proxima b & the Nearest Terrestrial Exoplanets Uninhabitable?"

Stella Kafka, American Association of Variable Star Observers, "The AAVSO for the Amateur Community"

John O’Neal, NASA Ambassador, "The Past, Present and Future of the NASA Parker Solar Probe"

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday AAS Shapley Lecture:  Donovan Domingue, Georgia College and State University, "Pre-Merger Galaxy Pairs as Star Formation Benchmarks in the Local Universe"

*Tri*Star* 2017 Saturday Speakers:

Jeff Regester, High Point University, "2014 MU69"
Donovan Domingue, Georgia College and State University, Infrared Astronomy"
Stephen van Vuuren, Independent Filmmaker, "In Saturn’s Rings"

Barbara Becker, University of California-Irvine, "I am almost certain… William Huggins and the First Attempts to Measure Stellar Motion in the Line of Sight"

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: David Baron, author of AMERICAN ECLIPSE: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World“Nature’s Grandest Spectacle: How, Where, and Why to View the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse”

*Tri*Star* 2017 Saturday Speakers:

Enrique Gómez, Western Carolina University, “The Great American Eclipse of 2017 over North Carolina”
David Baron, Author of American Eclipse, “Edison and the Eclipse That Enlightened America”
Barbara Becker, University of California-Irvine, “Photographing the Corona without an Eclipse:  the Forgotten Efforts of William Huggins”
Gayle Riggsbee, Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club, “When an Eclipse Trip Cost was only a Dollar”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday AAS Shapley Lecture: Dr. Patrick Miller, Hardin Simmons University, “Asteroid Threats to Earth:  How You Can Make Discoveries”

*Tri*Star* 2016 Saturday Speakers:

Peter Prendergast, MD, “Robotic Observing:  Challenging Established Dogma”
Brad Barlow, High Point University, “The Influence of Planets and Brown Dwarfs on Late Stellar Evolution”
Patrick Miller, Hardin Simmons University, “Debris Fields in the Solar System”
Michael Solontoi, Lynchburg College, “Killer Death Rocks from Outer Space”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Dr. Tom Brown, Space Telescope Science Institute, “Deepest Hubble Images Expose the Violent History of Our Galactic Neighborhood

*Tri*Star* 2015 Saturday Speakers:

Tom Brown, STScI, “On the Trail of the Missing Galaxies:  the Oldest Stars in the Neighborhood”
David Pitonzo, High Point University, “Musings on the Likelihood of Extraterrestrial Civilizations”
Chris Richardson, Elon University, “The Crab Nebula:  Our Local Young Supernova Remnant”
Maria Temming, Elon University, “A Summer at Sky & Telescope

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Shapley Lecture: Dr. Gordon Emslie, Western Kentucky University, “Spinning Pliers, the Chaotic Obliquity of Mars, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

*Tri*Star* 2014 Saturday Speakers:

Don Smith, Guilford College, “Designing a Neural Network to Process APDA Spectra”
Gordon Emslie, Western Kentucky Univ., "Acceleration of High Energy Particles in Solar Flares”
Kristen Thompson, Davidson College, “The Role of Magnetic Fields in the Star Formation Process”
Grant Thompson, Georgia Regents Univ., “Active Galactic Nuclei and the Nature of Their Tori”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Dr. Dan Reichart, UNC-Chapel Hill, “Birthing Black Holes: PROMPT and the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network

*Tri*Star* 2013 Saturday Speakers:

Steve Danford, UNC-Greensboro, “What Can Globular Clusters Tell Us about the Universe?”
Barbara Becker, U. Cal-Irvine, “Unraveling Starlight: William and Margaret Huggins and the Rise of the New Astronomy”
Jonathan Ward, NASA Solar System Ambassador, “MESSENGER at Mercury: Unlocking the Secrets of the Innermost Planet”
Matthew Fleenor, Roanoke College, “Multiwavelength Astrophysics: How Non-optical Light Informs Our Understanding of the Universe”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Dr. Terry Oswalt, Florida Institute of Technology, “It’s Later than You Think: How Astronomers Measure the Age of the Universe

*Tri*Star* 2012 Saturday Speakers:

Tom English, GTCC, “Historical Oppositions of Mars: The Rise of the Martians and the Fall of the Canals”
Terry Oswalt, Florida Institute of Technology, “Chicken Little was Right!  The Sky IS Falling”
Brad Barlow, Penn State University, “Starquakes! Probing Stellar Evolution using Asteroseismology”
Also – a series of short presentations/demonstrations/workshops, with topics including Cooking a Comet, Optimizing Your Observing Experience, Telling Time by the Stars, and a Siberian Impact Crater.

No Pre-*Tri*Star* Lecture in 2011

*Tri*Star* 2011 Saturday Speakers:

Mike Malaska, SCYNEXIS Organic Chemist, “Titan’s Earthlike Landscape”
Steven van Vuuren, Greensboro Filmmaker, Preview clip from his IMAX film, “Outside In”
Steve Reynolds, NC State University, “Supernova Remnants, Cosmic Rays, and Cosmology”
Sheila Kannappan, UNC-Chapel Hill, “Galaxy Life Stories:  Growing Up in a Violent Universe”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Neil Comins, University of Maine, “Science Errors on TV: A Personal Story

*Tri*Star* 2010 Saturday Speakers:
Neil Comins, University of Maine, “What if the Earth Were a Moon?”
Tony Crider, Elon University, “2012: Exploitation of the Maya Long Count”
Roger Ivester, Cleveland County Astronomical Society, “Visual Observing in a Digital Age”
Tim Martin, Greensboro Day School, “Arctic Impact”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Harry Shipman, University of Delaware, “Planets Beyond the Solar System

*Tri*Star* 2009 Saturday Speakers:
Harry Shipman, University of Delaware, “A Collaboration between Amateur and Professional Astronomers Investigates the Interiors of Dying Stars”
Johnny Horne, Fayetteville Observer/Sky & Telescope, “Earth & Sky”
Johannes Kepler, Portrayed by John McFarland, “Galileo’s Heavenly Discoveries”
Elise Weaver, Guilford College, “Gamma Ray Burst 080711 Afterglow Detection and Analysis”

Friday Shapley Lecture: Heidi Hammel, Space Science Institute, “Telescopes in Space

*Tri*Star* 2008 Saturday Speakers:
Heidi Hammel, Space Science Institute, “Deconstructing the Ice Giants”
Joe Foy, Hampden Sydney College, “The Crab Nebula”
Ted Forte, Back Bay Amateur Astronomers, “The Astronomical League’s Planetary Nebula Club”
Jeff Regester, Greensboro Day School, “All This Way for Two Minutes of Data”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Larry Marschall, Gettysburg College, “Deconstructing Pluto

*Tri*Star* 2007 Saturday Speakers:
Larry Marschall, Gettysburg College, “Hunting Killer Asteroids”
Don Smith, Guilford College, “Robots Chasing Stars”
Christina Lacey, University of South Carolina, “Exploding Stars – Better than a Hollywood Movie”
David Herrick, Maysville Community & Technical College, “Getting Tight with Titan”

Friday Shapley Lecture: Rob Knop, Vanderbilt University, “Galaxies In Collision

*Tri*Star* 2006 Saturday Speakers:
Rob Knop, Vanderbilt University, “A Modern Picture of the Expanding Universe”
Elizabeth Warner, Deep Impact Mission & University of Maryland, “Results from the Deep Impact Mission”
Dan Reichart, UNC-Chapel Hill, “Discovery of the Most Distant Explosion in the Universe”
Dennis Hands, Greensboro Astronomy Club, “My Two Weeks on Mars”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Robert Naeye, Sky & Telescope, “Go Spirit!  Go Opportunity! NASA’s Intrepid Rovers

*Tri*Star* 2005 Saturday Speakers:
Robert Naeye, Sky & Telescope, “Ringworld Rendezvous”
Stef McLaughlin, Deep Impact Mission & University of Maryland, “Amateur Observing Opportunities for the Deep Impact Mission”
Jonathan Keohane, Hampden-Sydney College, “Cosmic Explosions Inside Coffins of Massive Stars”
Mike Castelaz, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, “Exploring Young Stars in the Orion Nebula”

Friday Shapley Lecture: Larry Fredrick, University of Virginia, “The Great Impactor

*Tri*Star* 2004 Saturday Speakers:
Larry Fredrick, University of Virginia, “Parallax:  Chasing a Very Small Angle”
Dan Caton, Appalachian State University, “ASU’s Dark Sky Observatory: Opportunities for Students and Amateurs”
David Moffett, Furman University, “1300+ Pulsars”
Tom English, GTCC, “Transits of Venus”

Pre-*Tri*Star* Friday Lecture: Van Abernethy, Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club, “Saturn

*Tri*Star* 2003 Saturday Speakers:
Johnny Horne, Sky & Telescope, “Backyard Universe Gallery”
Dan Reichart, UNC-Chapel Hill, “Stonehenge as an Astronomical Observatory”
Tony Crider, Elon University, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”
Dana Crider, Catholic University of America, “What Happened to the Water on Mars?”

Friday Shapley Lecture: Robert Rood, University of Virginia, “Searching for Unicorns and Extraterrestrial Civilizations

*Tri*Star* 2002 Saturday Speakers:
Robert Rood, University of Virginia, “Looking at the Guts of Globular Clusters with the Hubble Space Telescope”
Gayle Riggsbee, Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club, “The History of the Building of the 200-inch Hale Telescope”
Jerry Watson, NCSU & Raleigh Astronomy Club, “Weather Systems on Other Planets”
Steve Danford, UNC-Greensboro, “What Is the Future of Space Exploration?”