Visit the Belk Observatory at the Claytor Nature Study Center! You’ll be able to look through our powerful telescopes and learn more about the universe! While you’re here, take advantage of the on-site campground and explore more than 7.5 miles of trails.
Tickets are free, but they are required. All open houses in 2016 will take place the Friday of the first full week of each month. As we work to expand our accessibility to the public, we will slowly begin to adjust the way we run our program, while still allowing visitors a quality experience. Check the Open House FAQ page for more information concerning these changes.
We look forward to your visit and our docents are eager to show you the sights and wonders of the Universe under rural Bedford County’s dark skies through our telescopes and instruments including the 20-inch Margaret Gilbert Telescope.
The Open House FAQ page has more information about our open houses.
For information about weather postponements, call 434.544.STAR (434.544.7827).
Update on the Margaret Gilbert Telescope: Unfortunately, the largest of our telescopes remains in inoperable condition, while a focusing motor is jammed. We are seeking a solution and will keep you posted.
How To Request Tickets
We are moving to a semi-automated ticket request system. Ticket requests can be made beginning at the time indicated in the chart below. Request tickets here.
Upcoming Open Houses
|2016 Open House Dates||Program Topic||Start Time||Tickets Available|
|February 12||Planetary Formation||7:30 p.m.||Feb. 1, 9 a.m.|
|April 8||Dark Skies||9:30 p.m.||Apr. 1, 9 a.m.|
|May 6||Space Exploration||9:30 p.m.||May 1, 9 a.m.|
|June 10||Exploring Jupiter!||9:30 p.m.||Jun. 1, 9 a.m.|
|July 8||Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion||9:30 p.m.||Jul. 1, 9 a.m.|
|August 12||Meteors and Comets||9:30 p.m.||Aug. 1, 9 a.m.|
|September 9||Planets and Mythology||8:30 p.m.||Sept. 1, 9 a.m.|
|October 7||Galileo’s Investigations||8:30 p.m.||Oct. 1, 9 a.m.|
|November 11||The Moon and Native American Culture||7:30 p.m.||Nov. 1, 9 a.m.|
|December 9||TBD||7:30 p.m.||Dec. 1, 9 a.m.|