Stargazing Event at Purchase Knob on June 3rd at Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center

Kick off the summer season of fun and join us for the Purchase Knob Star Gaze on Friday, June 3, 2016 at the Appalachian Highlands Learning Center at Purchase Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! If you’re a Neil deGrasse Tyson wannabe, or just a fan of the heavens, then this is the event for you!

Purchase Knob Star Gaze Event

Cat’s Eye Nebula as photographed by astonomer Josh Smith/NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has partnered with the Asheville Astronomy Club to offer the Purchase Knob Star Gaze program on Friday, June 3, 2016 at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center. The program is free; space is limited so reservations are required. Reservations can be made by calling the Appalachian Highlands Science Center at 828-926-6251. This event fills up quickly but if you miss your chance you can be added to the waiting list for cancellations and the next scheduled stargazing event.

Sunset will occur at 8:42 p.m. so plan to arrive before dark to enjoy the view and a presentation on what to look for in June’s night skies. Dark and remote Purchase Knob is the ideal location for the Asheville Astronomy Club to set up awesome telescopes for viewing the galaxy, globular clusters, planets, and more! At 5,086 ft. elevation, the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center offers a 260 degree view to the southeast that is not marred by power lines or other obstructions. Here are directions to the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob in the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

PLANNING TIP: Participants can expect cold temperatures at the high altitude of Purchase Knob so dress appropriately. It will be dark at the event so bring a flashlight covered with red cellophane. Why red cellophane? Find out why and other star gazing etiquette here. Be sure to bring a comfy lawn chair and blanket to enjoy the nighttime show.

In case the observing portion of this event is cancelled due to inclement weather, there will be a Star Gaze at Grassland Mountain Observatory in Madison County, NC on June 4, 2016. This event will be free and open to the public with no registration required. Since this star gaze is contingent upon the Purchase Knob event, check with the Astronomy Club of Asheville’s website for weather, road conditions, and other information regarding entry to the Grassland Mountain Observatory.

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