New observatory in certified dark-skies park opens in Yancey County
People in WNC can now experience the wonders of the night sky through a 34-inch telescope, the largest in the Southeast, at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory. (Image credit: MGN)
YANCEY COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) —
People in WNC can now experience the wonders of the night sky through a 34-inch telescope, the largest in the Southeast, at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory.
Come out on for the grand opening event on May 25, 2017. The rain date is June 1.
Activities will begin at 4 p.m. and a ribbon-cutting is at 7 p.m.
The Bare Dark Sky Observatory is named for Warren and Larissa Bare, and is located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park (formally called the Energy Exchange) in Yancey County.
The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) designated the Earth to Sky Park as the first IDA certified park in the Southeastern United States. The new observatory will allow community members an opportunity to experience the wonders of the night sky, while providing the college's astronomy students with hands-on learning.
The observatory sits at an elevation of 2,736 feet and offers a 360-degree view.
The observatory houses the “Sam Scope,” named in memory of Samuel Phillips.
The Sam Scope is a f/3.6 StarStructure Newtonian telescope, with a 34-inch (0.86 meter) mirror. It will be the largest telescope in the Southeast in dark skies dedicated for public use for educational and public outreach activities.
Funding for the telescope was provided by the Samuel L. Phillips Family Foundation.
Beginning at 4 p.m. on May 25th, the public is invited to tour the Bare Dark Sky Observatory and see the telescopes. There will be educational videos to watch, outdoor games to play, and tours of the Earth to Sky Park available.
Bubba’s Good Eats will have a food truck on site at 4 p.m. for visitors to enjoy.
Because parking access to the Observatory is limited, MCC will offer shuttle rides to the building for tours. Guests are recommended to wear walking shoes as the ground is uneven.
Bring a flashlight if you plan on staying past dark to catch a glimpse through the telescopes, because lighting is limited due to the restrictions of being an International Dark Sky Association certified Park.
Following the grand opening event, the Observatory will be open by reservation and for events/classes over the summer. Groups are welcome to make a reservation.
For upcoming Observatory events, click here.
For additional information call 828-766-1233