Evening at PARI: Candid Critters

Learn about “camera trapping” wildlife at PARI

The public is invited to learn about “camera trapping” wildlife and the Candid Critters citizen science project during an Evening at PARI program Friday, October 13 on the PARI campus. The evening’s activities will include a tour of the PARI site and, weather permitting, celestial observations with PARI telescopes.

This Evening at PARI event will feature a program entitled “Seeing Animals Through the Trees: Spotting Candid Critters in North Carolina and Beyond, presented by Dr. Stephanie Schuttler, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the NC Museum of National Sciences. “Camera traps are also known as trail cameras,” said Dr. Schuttler. “They are remotely activated cameras equipped with a motion sensor that allow us to capture photographs of wildlife with as little human interference as possible. During my talk I’ll explain how citizen scientists can participate in the Candid Critters project and work in collaboration with researchers at the Smithsonian Institution and the NC Museum of Natural Science. In addition to sharing photographs from the Candid Critters project, I’ll explain how citizen scientists can be trained for camera trapping and learn about the eMammal software system used for camera trapping. I’ll also provide recommendations for camera traps and share information about how participants can use our software to look at pictures, identify animals and upload photos to the digital repository for review and archiving at the Smithsonian.”

“This program is suitable for all ages and experience levels,” said PARI Education Director Christi Whitworth, “so we encourage everyone in the family to attend. Even if you don’t plan to actively camera trap wildlife, Dr. Schuttler’s talk will provide fascinating examples of wildlife that commonly can be found in North Carolina— perhaps even in your back yard.”

This program will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the presentation, followed by a campus tour and a trip to the Exhibit Gallery. Weather permitting, the evening will also include a trip to the Nature Center where PARI astronomers and volunteers will use PARI’s telescopes to showcase planets, stars and more.

The event will take place regardless of the weather so attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately and wear comfortable walking shoes.

Reservations are required and will be accepted until 3:00 p.m. the day of the event. Evening at PARI programs cost $20 per adult, $15 for students/seniors/military and $5 for children ages 6-11. Children 5 and under are admitted free. Register and pay using the PARI Event Calendar. For additional information contact Sarah Chappell at 828-862-5554 or schappell@nullpari.edu.

Astro Advisory: The Autumnal Equinox

Astronomical Advisory: the first moment of autumn

PARI astronomers point out that at 4:02 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 22 the Sun will cross the celestial equator in the sky heading south. This will be the first moment of autumn.

What is the astronomical significance of this moment? At this moment the Sun in its apparent path around the sky will stand directly over the equator of the Earth. It is one of two times during the year when this happens, the other being on the first day of spring. These are the two days of the year when the Sun is above the horizon for exactly half the day and is below the horizon an equal amount of time. Thus, the length of daylight is equal to that of the night (neglecting twilight) and this day is termed the equinox from the Latin for “equal night.”

After the equinox in September, called the autumnal equinox, the hours of daylight continue to shorten with the Sun above the horizon for a shorter time each day. This continues until the winter solstice in December (this year at 11:28 a.m. EST on December 21). Following the solstice the days get longer until at the spring or vernal equinox (next at 12:15 p.m. EDT on March 20), the day and night are once again equal in length.

This change of the seasons is not due to the changing distance of the Earth from the Sun as we orbit the Sun. Rather it is due to the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis. On the autumnal equinox the Earth is passing through the point where it is changing from the northern hemisphere tilting towards the Sun to the time when it tilts away from the Sun. Of course, the opposite is happening in the southern hemisphere; therefore, their seasons are reversed from ours and September 22 is the spring equinox below the equator.

Celebrate Birthdays at PARI !!!

A unique setting for an unforgettable experience

For a special birthday in a truly unique location, look no farther than PARI. A scheduled Saturday party at PARI offers:

  • Admission to the 200-acre campus
  • Full access to all public areas
  • Photo opportunities with massive 26-meter (85 ft.) radio telescopes
  • Hiking trails
  • Observation deck high atop the Optical Ridge
  • Exhibit galleries with Space Shuttle artifacts, minerals and rare meteorites
  • Cafeteria use (2 hours at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.)
  • A PARI staff member to assist during the party

A planetarium program can be added for $50.

The standard Saturday party fee is $150 and includes up to 15 people. Additional people can attend for $10 each.

Other times, dates and activities can be arranged upon request, but may require an additional fee.

Contact PARI today at 828-862-5554 for a birthday party that will be remembered forever!

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Hiking Trails Update

Two miles of hiking trails now available at PARI

PARI is a rich biosphere awaiting exploration, and to make that easier we’ve constructed more than two miles of hiking trails.

Emanating from Jo’s Cove, a scenic oasis in the heart of the campus, the trail network tunnels through groves of rhododendron and mountain laurel.

The network includes a switchback trail for novice hikers and a steeper side trail for those wanting exercise. Most are easy to moderate, with a few strenuous sections for the more adventurous. Benches are placed in scenic spots along the way and Jo’s Cove has picnic tables.

The trails are continually being improved with bridges, additional spurs and the reintroduction of local wildflowers. Regardless of the time of year, there’s always something interesting to see.