2019 North Carolina Statewide Star Party

Photo Credit: Tyler Nordgren

Update: The deadline to apply to be a host site for the 2019 NC Statewide Star Party has passed. We'll be in touch with all applicants soon!

We are seeking event hosts for the 7th annual North Carolina Statewide Star Party, a signature event of the 2019 North Carolina Science Festival. The Statewide Star Party will be held Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, 2019. This year’s theme is “The Moon and Beyond.”

We anticipate that 50 host sites (including state and local parks, planetariums, nature centers, libraries, and others), 5,000 visitors and 200 STEM professionals and volunteers will participate by hosting skywatching sessions for the public at sites across North Carolina on one of the two 2019 Star Party dates. Hosts will be provided with a Star Party kit so they can lead hands-on astronomy activities with their visitors.

New this year: 

  1. In addition to their April 12 or 13 Star Party events, hosts will also offer astronomy programming in July 2019 related to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.
  2. All 2019 Star Party hosts who have not participated in an in-person training for either a previous NC Statewide Star Party or the Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party are required to send at least one staff member to one of the following half-day in-person professional development workshops:
  • Saturday, January 26, 2019, 1-4:30 p.m., at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh)
  • Monday, February 4, 2019, 1-4:30 p.m., at Cape Fear Museum of History and Science (Wilmington)
  • Monday, February 18, 2019, 1-4:30 p.m., at UNC Asheville
  • Monday, February 25, 2019, 1-4:30 p.m., at Discovery Place Nature (Charlotte)

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 Monday, November 12, 2018 (11:59 pm EST). 
Important: This is earlier than the deadline to apply to host other (non-Star-Party) events as part of 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 2019 Star Party dates: Friday, April 12, 2019, or Saturday, April 13, 2019. 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 skywatching under the real sky. No planetarium-only events, except in case of rain. Events may take place during the daytime (with solar and lunar observing) or at night. Note: The Moon will be at/just past first quarter on the 2019 Star Party dates, which means it will be in the sky during the afternoon and evening.
  • Your organization supplies the venue and staffing, including astronomers. 
  • You commit to using at least 4 activities in the Star Party kit, which will be supplied by the Star Party Coordinators.
  • You commit to recruiting and training staff and volunteers to work at your event. Do not attempt to host an event solo!
  • You agree to read and respond to communications from the Star Party Coordinators 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 “The Moon and Beyond”
  • Provide training on kit activities during a half-day professional development workshop.
  • 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.

You can apply to be a 2019 Star Party event host through Monday, November 12, 2018, 11:59 pm EST. We will be in touch with all applicants by early December. 

To apply to be an event host for the 2019 Statewide Star Party, submit your event to the NC Science Festival Calendar and select the Statewide Star Party option to complete the additional information.

Click here for previous Star Party kit materials

For more information, please contact:
Amy Sayle 
Coordinator, 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.

Illustration Credit: Tyler Nordgren