At Great Smoky, the program at Cades Cove is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. It is being staged with help from 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 canceled.
“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," said Ranger Mike Maslona. "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 are being advised to park near the exhibit shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road where they'll meet a ranger who will 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 that 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.
At Mount Rainier, the program starts at 8:00 p.m. in the lobby of the Paradise Inn with a short presentation about the National Park Service “Night Skies” program. At 8:30 p.m. there will be outdoor stargazing with Tacoma Astronomical Society volunteers and their telescopes. Volunteers will also assist visitors to make astronomy devices called star finders.
If weather makes star gazing difficult, the party will move inside the Paradise Inn lobby for star finder making and a 45-minute film about the Milky Way galaxy. If you have questions please contact Park Ranger Curt Jacquot at (360) 569-2211, extension 6426.