October 24, 2008

Around Chapel Hill: Stars, Science and Roses

On a beautiful autumn day, walking around Chapel Hill, North Carolina is so pleasant. My husband and I caught the bus from our neighborhood to the UNC Campus. From the bus stop on campus, we walked to downtown Chapel Hill and enjoyed a nice, leisurely lunch. We then headed back across campus for a scenic stroll.

Our first stop was an historical landmark located on Franklin Street. The Morehead Planetarium at UNC was completed in 1949 as a gift from John Motley Morehead. According to the history, astronauts used the Planetarium to learn celestial navigation between 1959 and 1975. Astronauts participating in the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs trained at Morehead.

The annual "Star of Bethlehem" show is now in its 57th year, having premiered in 1949. There are many Planetarium showings from which to choose. These star shows are fun and educational for all age groups.

The Planetarium is also used for scientific exhibits. Through January 1, 2009, there is a special interactive science exhibit called "The Ancient Carolinians." The exhibit is based upon archaeological evidence that people lived here in North Carolina around 12,000 years ago. The archaeologists uncovered evidence near Badin at a site located at Hardaway. You won't find Hardaway on a map as the location is kept a secret to prevent theft of archaeological artifacts. I hope to return to this exhibit when my archaeologist son is home at Thanksgiving.

The Planetarium has a rose garden around the large sundial out front. Even in autumn, there are still quite a few blooms. With a hard freeze in the forecast for next week and daytime temperatures to dip into the 50s, these may be the last blooms of the year. Of further interest to gardeners, especially those interested in native plants, the Coker Arboretum is located behind the Planetarium.

While I can't bring you the Planetarium shows or exhibits, I can give you a glimpse of a few roses in the beautiful garden.


Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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