Great Smoky Mountains National Park will offer a 2.5-hour stargazing program in Cades Cove on September 24 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in cooperation with the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society. Experienced astronomers and numerous telescopes will be on hand to provide a discovery of the autumn 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.
According to Park Ranger Mike Maslona, "It's a great opportunity to gaze at the star-studded sky without the obstruction of artificial light as seen in developed areas outside the Park. People will be amazed at the vast depths of this planetary world and all that they can see in the complete darkness. This program mixes astronomy, legends, and the beauty of the stars to create a worthwhile exploration into the wonders of the heavens."
Participants for the program should park near the exhibit shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road where a ranger will be to escort the group about one-third of a mile to a nearby field. Those planning to attend should dress warmly, and bring a flashlight and a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. Also, it is suggested to bring binoculars which can be used for stargazing.
For further information, call 865/448-4104; or if there is any uncertainty about whether the event will occur because of weather conditions, call the day of the event for its status.