Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society, will offer a stargazing program in Cades Cove on Saturday, November 17, 2018 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Experienced astronomers and numerous telescopes will be on hand to provide a discovery of the fall sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way. In case of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be cancelled.
“National Park areas often offer a wonderful opportunity to stargaze,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Parks across the country monitor and manage for natural night sky conditions in much the same way as we do to protect our air and water. Visitors are often amazed at the number of stars that can be seen simply by entering into the natural darkness of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”
All participants should park at the orientation shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. A park ranger will walk with the group one-third of a mile to a nearby field to the viewing location. As the Cades Cove Loop Road is closed at sunset to motor vehicles, participants are not allowed to drive to the viewing site or to park within the Loop Road.
Those planning to attend should wear comfortable walking shoes, dress warmly, and bring a flashlight. Participants are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for sitting, along with binoculars which can be used for stargazing. To preserve the integrity of the telescope lenses, smoking is not allowed near them. Carpooling is strongly encouraged as parking is limited.
The program is subject to postponement due to rain or cloud cover. If the weather is questionable, call the day of the event to confirm that the program will take place at 865-448-4104 or follow the park’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainsNPS.
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