Museum invites you to see the Sun in a new light at International SUN-day

For immediate release ‐ June 17, 2016

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

RALEIGH — Learn more about our amazing star, the Sun, when the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts International SUNday on Sunday, June 26, 12:30–3:30 p.m. Safely view the Sun through solar telescopes, find out how the Sun will change our planet in the future, and learn what spacecraft can tell us about the Sun, from the surface to the center. International SUNday is held annually on the Sunday nearest to the summer solstice, which is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the entire year, marking the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The event is free.

From 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., visitors can take a look at the Sun through the Museum’s solar telescopes. Visitors will be able to observe the Sun through hydrogen-alpha and white-light filters, which highlight fascinating surface features and solar storms. Solar observing will take place on the Rooftop Terrace of the Museum’s Nature Research Center (4th Floor).

Visitors can also attend talks in the SECU Daily Planet Theater, located in the Nature Research Center. At 12:30 p.m., join Dr. Rachel Smith, Head of the Museum’s Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab, for a presentation on “The Living Sun: How Stars Affect (Potential) Life on Planets.” How does the Sun affect life on Earth? How will it change our planet in the future? Smith will discuss ways scientists are trying to answer these questions, and how scientists are working to better understand how stars other than own Sun can have dramatic effects on life in their planetary systems.

Then at 1:00 p.m. join NASA-JPL Solar System Ambassador Tony Rice for “Viewing Our Sun Inside and Out with SOHO and STEREO.” Come learn about spacecraft like SOHO (Solar & Heliospheric Observatory) and STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) that help us study our ever-changing Sun, both on its surface and deep in its interior.

While rain may obscure our observation of the Sun, the presentations will happen rain or shine, and the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab will be open, with its astronomers available to talk with visitors about the Sun and current solar scientific exploration.


The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St. and 121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world, drawing them into the intriguing fields of study that are critical to the future of North Carolina. Hours: Mon.- Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., noon-5 p.m. Visit the Museum online at Emlyn Koster, PhD, Museum Director; Susan Kluttz, Secretary, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; Pat McCrory, Governor.

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development. NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit

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