Starry Nights is Returning to Hatteras Village – Here’s Why you Should Go - Shooting The Breeze

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Starry Nights is Returning to Hatteras Village – Here’s Why you Should Go

Friday 17 February 2017 at 5:53 pm.

By JOY CRIST

 The Starry Nights event is returning to Hatteras Village for a full February weekend, and if you didn’t have a chance to go to last year’s event, you are in for a treat.

The two-day star gazing session which is presented by the Hatteras Civic Association and orchestrated by the UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill – the largest planetarium in the state – is not just for the astronomically inclined.

Instead, it’s for anyone who appreciates a clear night, a star-filled sky, and pausing for a few minutes to look up and enjoy a natural show on full display. And on Hatteras Island, that encompasses pretty much all of us.

So if you haven’t made plans for February 24-25 yet, and are looking for a new wintertime adventure, here are a few reasons why a weekend of stargazing may be right up your alley.

It’s Cheap

Let’s start with one of the most important incentives, which is the price. Tickets for the entire weekend are $15 for adults, and $7 for children, and the ticket provides access to the Friday night opening reception and “Night Skies Over Hatteras Island” presentation, the Saturday afternoon planetarium session, and the Saturday night outdoor stargazing with big telescopes and experts on hand to answer questions.

It’s Winter Entertainment

It’s always nice to find something surprising and fun to do, especially in the middle of winter. We still have a couple months to go before the island is hopping again, and chances are that you’ve already binge watched all the Netflix programs that you couldn’t get around to during the summertime. So why not take an opportunity to get out of the house and do something new? In the winter, when the most exciting thing on a weekend schedule tends to be grocery shopping and / or going to the post office, it’s a treat to experience a different form of entertainment.

There’s a Portable Planetarium!


I attended the event in 2016, and if there’s one thing that sticks out in my mind about the weekend, it’s the ridiculously cool portable planetarium. This sucker is huge, and it filled a big chunk of the Hatteras village fire station, and at first glance it resembled one of those giant inflatable lawn ornaments that pop up around Christmastime, (but not as festive.)

But once it’s erected, you can go inside this big inflated snow globe, find a seat, and look up while the different constellations shift and rotate in fascinating patterns. It’s a very unique and memorable experience, and it certainly didn’t hurt that there was Beatles music in the background to set a groovy tone.

It’s going to be Warmer than Last Year

You can’t predict the weather, but considering how cold it was for last year’s outdoor stargazing session, I’m going to go ahead and forecast that there is absolutely no way that this year’s event could possibly be colder than 2016’s Starry Nights.

Early weather forecasts are already saying that Saturday’s capping event, the outdoor stargazing, will be a nicely mild 65 degrees, which is certainly promising.

And I can attest that even if this changes, and it is freezing cold and windy like it was last year, it’s still fun to go out and look through the giant telescopes at the canopy of stars overhead– even if you lose the feeling in your face while doing so.

Hatteras Island really is one of the best places on the East Coast for stargazing

With no brightly lit hotels, commercial lights, or waves of traffic - especially this time of year – Hatteras Island really is an incredible place to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the night sky. Named as one of the best places in the world to stargaze by numerous experts and scientists, the island is the perfect spot to take up a star gazing hobby.

Plus, any reason to head to the beach and enjoy the scene, day or night, is always a good thing.

You Might Learn Something

I remember leaving last year’s event feeling smarter than I had in a while. Suddenly, I had an ability to look up and identify a network of stars and even planets, besides just pointing upwards and saying “Is that an airplane or a star? It’s moving, so I think it’s an airplane.”

Granted, a year later, I have retained almost none of this newfound knowledge and am back to trying to decipher the difference between celestial bodies and planes. But nevertheless, having the (albeit brief) ability to look up and know what I was talking about for a change was a fantastic feeling.  

Inspired to go? Then check out the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1917513978479579/, grab a friend or two who own binoculars, and get ready for one of the most unique happenings in the Hatteras Island wintertime.

With any luck, and a lot of attendance, this “new” tradition that’s now in its second year will be a long-time event for years to come.

Event Schedule:
Friday, February 24
Hatteras Village Community Building
5:30 pm Registration and Welcome Reception
6:30 Presentation "Night Skies over Hatteras Island"

Saturday, February 25
Hatteras Fire Station
2:00 pm - View the skies in the Morehead Portable Planetarium
Children's Program and Education Activities (no charge for school age)

Hatteras Village Community Building
5:30 pm - Join us for hot soup and chili before heading out to view the night skies.

Click Here  To Read about last year's event

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