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HICKORY — People will be looking to the skies at the Catawba Science Center when a popular astronomy festival returns.

The center will host BoBfest, a regional gathering of amateur astronomers, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will feature keynote speakers, astrophotography displays, vendors, exhibitors, and information about local events and facilities. Visitors will have the chance to engage with amateur and professional astronomers from the region.



The morning keynote speakers will be Gayle Riggsbee and Matt Harbison.

Afternoon forums will showcase different speakers covering a range of topics, such as astrophotography, meteorite identification and astronomy for beginners.

In addition to the speakers and various afternoon forums on astronomy topics, there will be solar observing available during lunch, weather permitting.

Center staff will lead family activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., such as crafts and experiments related to astronomy for children of all ages.

People will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for $1 each for a chance to win a wide variety of door prizes, including astronomy materials and merchandise, telescopes, items from local businesses and more.

Funds from door prize donations will help fund the event. Any interested vendors or door prize donors may contact bobfestastro@gmail.com.

Groucho’s Deli will have lunch available for purchase during the festival. Special planetarium features, including children’s shows and laser shows, will be shown throughout the day in the Millholland Planetarium.

The Lucile Miller Observatory at Maiden Middle School in nearby Maiden will be open for observing at 7 p.m. with members of the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club.

BoBfest is presented by the Cleveland County Astronomical Society, Catawba Science Center and the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club.

Attendees ranging from professional astronomers to those who simply have an interest in astronomy are welcome.

Anyone looking into astronomy as a hobby is urged to come and ask questions of the more experienced astronomers. While BoBfest is free to everyone, participants are encouraged to preregister online at www.catawbasky.org/bobfest.

For a more detailed schedule of the events, visit www.catawbasky.org/bobfest.

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