Visitors can dive deep into the big questions of the universe during guest nights at the Morehead Observatory, observatory director Dan Reichart said.
How did it all begin? How is it going to end? What is the human place in all of this?
The observatory’s weekly guest nights explore questions like these in a fun way, Reichart said.
The guest nights are hosted by the UNC Department of Physics and Astronomy almost every Friday when UNC classes are in session. They are free and open to the public in the observatory at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.
“It’s a nice evening,” Reichart said. “When I’m teaching classes and advertise it to students, I tell them it’s a great date night.”
Mae Dubay, a graduate student and one of the guest night hosts, said she spends around two hours providing hands-on learning and interesting insights into the night sky during the sessions.
At the beginning of the evening, guests are shown how the robotic Morehead telescope works. After that, Dubay said visitors have the opportunity to view the moon, planets, star clusters, nebulae and even some other galaxies through the telescope’s eyepiece.
“The last thing we do is we go out onto the roof of Morehead and we do a tour of the constellations in the night sky,” Dubay said.
Dubay said the experience of looking through a telescope and being able to take a peek into the universe with your own eyes is something that can’t be replaced by looking at images online.