Great Smoky Mountains National Park in cooperation with the Astronomy Club of Asheville, will host a star gazing event on Friday, October 2, 2015, at Purchase Knob, home to the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center. The Astronomy Club of Asheville will lead an exploration of the night sky at this high elevation site with a 260-degree, unobstructed view of the sky. Visitors can expect to see the Milky Way Galaxy high overhead that night along with the telescopic planets Uranus and Neptune, the Andromeda Galaxy, and many striking star clusters.
“National park areas offer a wonderful opportunity to stargaze,” says Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Visitors are often amazed at the amount of stars that can be seen simply by entering into the natural darkness of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”
The event starts at 7:00 p.m. with an indoor presentation of what can be seen in the nighttime skies during October, which will be held rain or shine. The Learning Center is located at 5,000 feet in elevation. Participants should dress warm and bring a flashlight. Rangers also recommend participants bring a lawn chair or blanket for sitting, along with binoculars which can be used for stargazing. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.
The program is free but is limited to 80 people. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (828) 926-6251.