2020 North Carolina Statewide Star Party

Photo Credit: Tyler Nordgren

Call for Event Hosts for the 2020 Statewide Star Party

We are seeking event hosts for the 8th annual North Carolina Statewide Star Party, a signature event of the 2020 North Carolina Science Festival. The Statewide Star Party will be held Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25, 2020. This year’s Statewide Star Party theme is “Seeing the Universe.” 

We anticipate that 35 hosts (including state and local parks, planetariums, nature centers, libraries, and others) will participate by hosting skywatching events for the public at sites across North Carolina over the weekend of April 24-25, 2020. Hosts will be provided with a free Star Party kit so they can lead hands-on astronomy activities with their visitors. 

Because of the popularity of the Statewide Star Party program, we anticipate receiving more applications than spots available. We will select hosts who are committed to putting on a successful skywatching event for the public and who, collectively, can engage a geographically diverse set of visitors across North Carolina. We strongly encourage all hosts to engage other community partners in putting on a successful event.  

The deadline to apply to be a Star Party host site is Friday, November 15, 2019 (11:59 pm Eastern).  

Important: This is earlier than the deadline to apply to host other (non-Star-Party) events as part of the NC Science Festival. If not accepted as a Statewide Star Party host, applicants are still able to host an event for the NC Science Festival! 

Requirements to be a Star Party host: 

  • Your event must have the support of your organization’s administration.
  • Your event must be scheduled for one of the official 2020 Star Party dates: Friday, April 24, 2020, or Saturday, April 25, 2020. A rain date, or an indoor rain plan, is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. 
  • Your event must be open to the public. Free events are encouraged, but not mandatory. 
  • Your event includes a significant skywatching component involving the real sky. No planetarium-only events, except in case of rain.  
  • Your organization supplies the venue and staffing, including astronomers.  
  • You commit to trying out in advance the educational activities in the Star Party kit, which will be supplied by the Star Party Coordinators, and to using 3 or more activities (out of at least six) at your event. 
  • You commit to recruiting and training staff and volunteers to work at your event, including how to lead kit activities. Do not attempt to host an event solo! 
  • You agree to read communications from the Star Party Coordinators, respond to questions, and pass along communications to everyone working the event.  

The North Carolina Science Festival and Statewide Star Party will: 

  • Provide hosts with a free Star Party kit with educational activities to engage visitors on the theme of “Seeing the Universe” 
  • Provide training on kit activities via a webinar as well as an invitation to an in-person training. 
  • Promote events on the Festival website as part of the Festival’s online calendar 
  • Provide hosts with North Carolina Science Festival branding tools, such as event signage, advertising templates and the North Carolina Science Festival logo for use with print and electronic marketing efforts. 
  • Create a unique URL for hosts to use to promote the event within their community. 

Applications for the 2020 Statewide Star Party will be live from Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 9am Eastern through Friday, November 15, 2019, 11:59 pm Eastern. We will be in touch with all applicants by December 6, 2019. 

Application Questions:

  • Event Plans: Describe your plans for organizing your Star Party event. Please include the location, intended audience, collaborators and partners, how your participants will observe the sky, other activities participants will do at your event, your rain/cloud plan, your staffing plan, your plan for promoting your event, and any other details you feel are important.
  • Telescopes: Star Party events usually offer telescope viewing. Where will your telescopes—and the people to operate them—come from? If you plan to partner with amateur astronomers or an astronomy club, tell us which astronomers/club and whether you already have a relationship with them.
  • Science for All: The North Carolina Science Festival is committed to the mission of “Science for All.” Please describe how your institution and your participation in the Statewide Star Party helps to achieve that mission and improve access to STEM opportunities for North Carolinians, particularly underserved and underrepresented populations.


For more information, please contact:
Amy Sayle and Hope Thomson
Coordinators, NC Statewide Star Party
Email: starparty@unc.edu 

The Statewide Star Party is made possible with the support of NC Space Grant and the NC Science Festival.

Click here for Star Party kit materials from previous years

Illustration Credit: Tyler Nordgren