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Where should I go to view the stars?

Si Cantwell

While this is certainly no New York City, our region has its share of street lights and other illuminations that may obstruct your view of the heavens. But you don’t have to go too far to find a good spot for star gazing.

Cape Fear Astronomical Society operates dark-sky sites for the use of its members and guests. Ronnie Hawes is president. Call him at 762-1033 for information about the club’s activities and how to join. The club meets at 7 p.m. the first Sunday of every month (unless that’s a holiday weekend) at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wilmington, 4313 Lake Ave.

Any site away from city lights will yield a better view of dim objects such as distant stars and nebulas. The Andromeda galaxy is visible to the naked eye in the constellation Andromeda.

A good place for dark-sky viewing is the public beach at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. State parks in Columbus or Bladen county might also be good places, depending on placement of street lights and other impediments to viewing.

You can find more information about amateur astronomy in Sky & Telescope magazine.

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