Lookout to resume astronomy night, reopen visitor center

Cape Lookout Lighthouse under the night sky. Photo: Crystal Coast Stargazers/Alex Gu

Cape Lookout National Seashore is gearing up for the season by resuming a monthly outdoor stargazing event and opening its visitor center in Beaufort on April 1. Neither is offered during the winter months.

The next monthly National Coastal Astronomy Night at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 at the Harkers Island Visitor Center.

During Astronomy Night, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar System Ambassador Brandon Porter will introduce attendees to celestial objects in the night sky that can be observed with the naked eye and with a telescope.

After the presentation, park staff and astronomers from the Crystal Coast Stargazers, a NASA Night Sky Network astronomy club, will host a Star Party to view the moon and other astronomical objects above the Southern Outer Banks at through a telescope.

The organizers recommend that participants check the weather and dress accordingly, bring lawn chairs or blankets, water, snacks, insect repellent and a flashlight with a red filter which helps to maintain everyone’s night vision.

The Beaufort Visitor Information Center is located at 701 Front Street in the City Hall building. Center hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily after reopening on April 1. Inside the center there are exhibits on the ecology and history of the southern Outer Banks.

The Visitor Center is opposite the Island Express Ferry Service wharf, which is the authorized concessionaire for passenger service to Shackleford Banks. Call the ferry at 252-728-7433 or visit islandexpressferryservice.com for details.

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