The Big Field
Programs + Events

Skywatching - Stars and the Moon

Silhouettes of people looking through a telescope

*** CANCELED ***

All Dix Park Programs are Canceled through May 31

Join staff and volunteers from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) and Raleigh Astronomy Club (RAC) for a free skywatching program at Dorothea Dix Park. Triangle Sax Ensemble will be joining us at the event to provide some stargazing tunes!

Visitors to the park will be able to look through telescopes at a variety of objects in the sky with assistance from Morehead Planetarium staff and dedicated volunteers. The waxing gibbous Moon will be the most prominent object in the evening sky. It is well positioned between the stars Arcturus, Spica and Regulus providing a nice view in the direction of the spring constellations. Seasoned astronomers will likely also have some nebulae and galaxies to hunt for, but beginners will be able to find the stars of the Big Dipper high overhead.

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 PM 

Please RSVP Registration is not required, but it does help us to know how many guests to expect and we can contact you with important information including event changes due to weather conditions. 


This event is free to the public thanks to Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy donors.

Weather: If we need to postpone or reschedule due to inclement weather, we will email registered participants (RSVP on Eventbrite) and post on our Dix Park Facebook page.


Location: The Big Field at Dix Park, 101 Blair Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603

Know Before You Go

  • This is an informal session, so you can arrive and leave any time during the program.
  • All ages are welcome. School-aged children and older may especially enjoy the experience, however, very young children may not get much out of looking through a telescope.
  • Parents: We recommend you look through the telescope first—then you’ll be better able to help your child locate objects in view. Sometimes, children (as well as adults) want to grab hold of the telescope, potentially smudging the eyepiece or knocking the object out of view. Please guide children to not touch the telescope without the operator’s permission. You can ask children to place their hands behind their back as they approach the scope. Explain they’ll be using their eyes to look, not their hands.
  • Bring a blanket or chairs so you can relax under the stars.
  • Be sure to dress in layers. This program is outdoors at night and the wind can be chilly.
  • Please bring a small flashlight to help you walk across the field, but you might find that avoiding all light and letting your eyes adjust to the darkness is more beneficial. Even a little light can throw off your night vision.
  • Please leave all pets at home, even those on a leash. Darkness, lots of people, expensive telescopes and pets on leashes is a bad combination. Pets will not be permitted near the telescopes.
  • Skywatching FAQ's

Location and Parking

  • The skywatching session will be located at Dorothea Dix Park on The Big Field. This area is bordered by Blair Drive, Barbour Drive and Biggs Drive.
  • Parking is available in gravel lots on Biggs Drive (please do not park on grass under the trees) and at the Adams Building Lot, located roughly at 101 Blair Drive.
  • Please be courteous when driving in and try not to have your headlights light up the field more than necessary.

Dorothea Dix Park continues to work to be accessible and welcoming for visitors with disabilities and limited mobility. Accessible Parking with reserved spaces are available in all lots on campus. Handicap accessible port-a-johns are located at the Big Field and Flowers Field. Portions of Dorothea Dix Park, including some areas where programs and events occur, have uneven surfaces are not ADA accessible at this time.

Planning a visit to Dix Park and have questions about accessibility? Contact Joseph Voska, Programs and Operations Supervisor, at 919-996-6688 or