Preserving the Night Sky

The Milky Way over Cape Lookout.
Photo – Alex Gu

Celebrate International Dark Sky Week!

Cape Lookout National Seashore, with the assistance of Crystal Coast Stargazers, is planning a public event to kick-off International Dark Sky Week in April. Plans are for a two-night public event – April 22 & 23 – at the park’s Visitor Center, 1800 Island Road on Harkers Island. The public will be invited to view our dark skies by telescopes setup by astronomy club members or by taking the Island Express Ferry for a starlight cruise to the lighthouse narrated by NASA Solar System Ambassador, Brandon Porter.

The public stargazing on the mainland will be from 8:00 PM until the ferry returns around 9:30 PM. After the public leaves, members from any astronomy club may stay as late as they want. The park staff has approved for astronomers to stay by their scopes, etc. For more information click on this link .

Congratulations to Cape Lookout National Seashore !! Through the hard work of Park Rangers, Volunteers from the Crystal Coast Stargazers astronomy club and support from our community, we are now the home of the World’s latest IDA Site. Congratulations to all involved and thanks for the hard work!

In January 2020 Crystal Coast Stargazers began involvement in our most ambitious project to date.  Cape Lookout National Seashore, a park that is one of our most used observing sites, began the application process to become a designated International Dark Sky Park.  Superintendent Jeff West and his staff share our club’s passion to preserve our pristine dark skies in the eastern part of Carteret County.  CC Stargazers entered into a partnership to assist Cape Lookout in this endeavor.  Club members have been involved in taking measurements, readings, and photographs necessary to document the skies for the application.  In addition, our members have been actively involved in the required outreach efforts to educate the community on the effects of light pollution and ways to eliminate or reduce it.

During the year, other partners have joined and pledged their support to Cape Lookout’s application – these include Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, Carteret County Chamber of Commerce, Town of Beaufort Commissioners, Carteret County Board of Commissioners.  The application will be submitted within the next few months with a response from the International Dark Sky Association probably coming in the fall.  Approval or not, Crystal Coast Stargazers will continue to be dedicated to preserving our night skies for future generations!

A special thanks to our Dark Sky Supporters.

Preserving the Night Sky.
Hosted by Carteret County Community College.

Carteret Community College graciously hosted a Program about the Club’s work with Preserving our Dark Skies, to view please click here.
(Vermadel Nienstedt – IDA Coordinator, David Heflin – Club Coordinator, Brandon Porter – NASA Solar System Ambassador)