Welcome to the Dark Sky Observatory

Welcome to the Dark Sky Observatory

We are having our next in-person Evening at DSO event on Saturday, October 16, 2021. With the earlier sunset we will now have two sessions that you can choose from to attend. The first one will meet from 7:30pm till 9:00.  The second session will meet from 9:30-11:00 (a half hour between each for traffic in and out).  We plan to observe targets that will include the gibbous Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. To maximize safety there will be no introductory PowerPoint but just observing activities inside and outside the dome, with a few people at various stations (the main telescope, an outside telescope, binoculars used outside, an outside laser pointer show of constellations and sky objects, etc.). Student guides will monitor the stations. DSO-logoed souvenirs will be available for purchase.

Ticket sales will be limited to keep the number of attendees down. We cannot and will not check vaccination but of course urge you come only if you have been vaccinated. Masks will be required inside the dome and Visitor Center, so bring a mask.

Parents or other adults accompanying children are expected to maintain control of the children for the safety and comfort of all participants.

If the event is clouded/rained out we will probably cancel the event and return the ticket price.  We do not want to have an alternative indoor event with the Delta variant still a problem. If you get a ticket, pay attention to email, the DSO web site (dso.appstate.edu), or our Facebook page for any last minute decisions.

See the Public Access area of dso.appstate.edu for directions and map to DSO. All phone map apps (Google, Waze, Apple Maps) will lead you there if you search for Dark Sky Observatory (in Purlear, NC).

For tickets, click here.

Appalachian State University's Dark Sky Observatory is the research facility used by faculty and their students to conduct observational research in astrophysics. It is equipped with four telescopes, each used regularly for CCD imaging and photometry, with spectrographic instrumentation also used at the 32-inch. Established in 1981, the observatory is located about 20 miles northeast of Boone at an elevation of a kilometer. Far from major cities, its dark skies provide a good setting for digital imaging and spectroscopy done in stellar and solar system research projects. Details about the instrumentation and capabilities of the various telescopes is available at the Facilities link at the top of this page.


Sunday, November 1, 2009 - 12:00am
The image at right is the "first light" color composite image taken the first night of use of the...
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