On Saturday night, the park will kick off its seasonal StarWatch program — an hour-long event that allows the public to enjoy the splendor of the night sky at the Bays Mountain observatories. Attendees can typically see star clusters, nebulous gas clouds, colorful multiple star systems and distant galaxies.
The program is hosted by the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club, which operates the park’s telescopes, as well as their own, and offers an exciting tour of the night sky. The instruments at Bays Mountain reveal thousands of craters, mountains and lava plains.
Adam Thanz, planetarium director, said anywhere from 10 to 80 people have shown up for the viewings in the past.
“The only thing to bring is their enthusiasm for exploring the night sky and clothing for cool to cold weather,” Thanz said. “We ask our guests to park in the regular parking lots and walk the short gravel path to the observatory grounds.”
The observing sessions are held each Saturday night in October and November. Viewing starts at 7:30 p.m. on October 7 and 14, 7 p.m. on October 21, 28 and November 4, and 6 p.m. on November 11, 18 and 25.
These programs are free to the public. If there is inclement weather, a free alternate live tour of the night sky in the planetarium theater will be available.
For more information, visit baysmountain.com or call (423) 229-9447.