Star viewing at Foothills Equestrian Nature Center

Jesse Willard, star party executive of the Foothills Astronomical Society, sets up his telescope at FENCE.

Jesse Willard, star party executive of the Foothills Astronomical Society, sets up his telescope at FENCE.

This month in honor of the fourth annual North Carolina Statewide Star Party, FENCE is featuring our resident astronomical group, Foothills Astronomical Society. Once a month, members of the Foothills Astronomical Society, typically on the first Friday of the month depending on the weather, come out to FENCE at sunset and set up telescopes on top of Hawk’s Ridge, behind the FENCE center.

Foothills Astronomical Society aims to encourage astronomy and space exploration learning throughout the community. Whether you are a first time stargazer or an experienced observer, all are welcome to join the group at FENCE on Friday, April 8.

The North Carolina Statewide Star Party is held as part of the N.C. Science Festival. Many different sites such as nature centers, parks, and astronomy groups were encouraged to host family friendly events on either April 8 or 9 as part of this statewide star party.

The goal of these events is to encourage community members to “find your way in the sky” and learn more about the solar system and universe that we live in. This year FENCE is a host site location with the Foothills Astronomical Society. We encourage folks from the community to join the astronomy group up on Hawk’s Ridge at sunset.

The members are happy to answer questions that you may have or allow you to view the sky through their telescopes. We encourage you to ask the owner of the telescope before looking through it, as they will be able to help you to identify objects in the sky and focus the telescope. If you decide to join us star gazing, please park in a parking lot and walk up to Hawk’s ridge.

We ask that you minimize white light from your cars, cell phones, and flashlights. Excessive white light interferes with our night vision and makes it more difficult to view the sky at night. If you need a light to see in the dark we recommend using a flashlight with a red light bulb or filter.

For more information about the Foothills Astronomical Society visit intheheavens.org. For more information about the NC State Wide Star Party visit www.ncsciencefestival.org/special-opportunities/starparty/.

Foothills Equestrian Nature Center is located at 3381 Hunting Country Road in Tryon. For more information about upcoming events at FENCE visit fence.org, or call us at 828-859-9021. Hope to see you on April 8 up on Hawk’s Ridge.

Submitted by Amy Schmitte

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