Town Creek Indian Mound Brings Astronomy Day to the People May 14

Visitors to Town Creek Indian Mound observe the sky
Mount Gilead

Visitors can safely observe the sun during the day then stargaze at night at Town Creek Indian Mound for free programs for Astronomy Day May 14. The Astronomic League created Astronomy Day as a grassroots movement to bring the joy of astronomy to the public. The 2016 theme is "Bringing Astronomy to the People."

Daytime observation of the sun will be possible using a solar-filtered 12-inch Dobsonian telescope from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can view sunspots on the sun's surface and learn how they create the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

Once the sun sets and the sky has darkened, staff will host Town Creek Under the Stars, 8 to 11 p.m. Visitors will see the crescent moon and Jupiter paired together and Mars nearing opposition. Participants also will view the constellations Cancer, Leon and Virgo.

"We will not host Town Creek Under the Stars again until September," says Historic Interpreter Karen Bowles. "Stargazers will not want to miss a fun evening of astronomy before summer begins."

Astronomy Day was created to allow people who have never viewed the sky through a telescope to be able to do so and see why amateur and professional astronomers are so excited about astronomy. To learn more about the Astronomic League and Astronomy Day, visit www.astroleague.org.

For more than 1,000 years, American Indians farmed lands later known as North Carolina. Around A.D. 1000, a new cultural tradition arrived in the Pee Dee River Valley. Throughout Georgia, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and western and southern Piedmont North Carolina, inhabitants built earthen mounds for their leaders, engaged in widespread trade, supported craftspeople and celebrated a new religion.

The mission of Town Creek is to interpret the history of the American Indians who once lived here. The visitor center features interpretive exhibits and audiovisual displays. A national historic landmark, Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic Site is North Carolina's only state historic site dedicated to American Indian heritage. 

Tour groups are welcome and encouraged. The site is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. It is closed to the public Mondays and most major holidays. The historic site is within the Division of State Historic Sites and located at 509 Town Creek Mound Road, Mount Gilead, N.C, 27306. For more information on Town Creek, visit www.towncreekindianmound.com

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