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.
After 19 months of repairs, the Margaret G.L. Gilbert 20-inch telescope is now back in operation!
This year, we look forward to re-establishing our 20” Margaret Gilbert telescope as a unique feature of our programs! She is reassembled and awaiting calibration and a few final equipment tweaks. We’ll get that done as soon as time and clear skies allow. Check here for updates about making this wonderful instrument once again available to the public at our Night Sky Parties!
Open Houses Become Sky Parties!
This year we’ve changed the name of our Open Houses to Sky Parties to reflect our celebration of the awesome nature of our universe! We add a special twist to some of our traditional events to feature a film related to the secrets of the universe. So, come just for viewing the stars, or come an hour earlier in the evening for an astronomy-related film and space-related mazes and coloring pages for the kids (young and old)!
Events take place the third Friday of every month.
Please contact if you experience trouble with the website links or form.
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 Sky Parties
|2017 Dates||Reservations begin||Astronomy film||Film starts||Sky viewing starts|
|Feb. 17||Feb. 1||Cosmos (2014) E04 “A Sky Full of Ghosts”||6:35 p.m.||7:30 p.m.|
|Mar. 17||Mar. 1||Cosmos (2014) E02 “Some of the Things that Molecules Do”||7:35 p.m.||8:30 p.m.|
|Apr. 21||Apr. 1||TBD||8:30 p.m.|
|May 19||May 1||TBD||9:30 p.m.|
|Jun. 16||Jun. 1||TBD||9:30 p.m.|
|Jul. 21||Jul. 1||TBD||9:30 p.m.|
|Aug. 18||Aug. 1||Secrets of the Sun documentary||7:35 p.m.||8:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 15||Sept. 1||TBD||8:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 20||Oct. 1||Through the Wormhole: S5E06||6:35 p.m.||7:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 17||Nov. 1||TBD||7:30 p.m.|
|Dec. 15||Dec. 1||TBD||7:30 p.m.|