Stargaze from the Summit of Mt. Mitchell Sept. 8

Published Friday, August 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Aug. 24, 2012. The best way to view stars is to get as close to them as possible. 

With that in mind, the Blue Ridge Astronomy Group will host the first-ever Mt. Mitchell Star Party on Saturday, Sept. 8, near the summit of the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.

From an elevation of nearly 6,684 feet in the upper parking lot at Mt. Mitchell State Park, attendees will be able to peer deep into outer space. Mt. Mitchell’s height and rural location away from urban light pollution make it an ideal spot for stargazing.

Astronomy groups from across Western North Carolina will provide a variety of powerful telescopes for public use, and people are also encouraged to bring their own telescopes. There’s no charge for admission and anyone with an interest in viewing the mysteries of space is encouraged to attend.

“The moon will not rise until after midnight, so with good weather we expect a very dark night of exceptional stargazing,” said Bob Hampton, one of the event organizers. “From that vantage point on Mt. Mitchell, we expect see not only stars, but galaxies, nebulae, the Milky Way, orbiting satellites and much more.”

Hours for this unique event are 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with sunset occurring at 7:46 p.m. local time. Also, Mt. Mitchell State Park is open all day so folks can arrive whenever they wish.

In addition to the Blue Ridge Astronomy Group, other organizations on-hand will include the Astronomy Club of Asheville and the Cleveland County Astronomical Society.

In case of bad weather, the event will be moved to the following Saturday – Sept. 15.

For more info, visit: www.blueridgeastronomygroup.com, or call the Yancey County Chamber at (800) 948-1632.

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