For the third year, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will offer a 2-hour stargazing program in Cades Cove beginning at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4. Several telescopes and in-depth astronomy knowledge will be provided by the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society.
The scheduled tour in Cades Cove will be a discovery of the autumn sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way. According to Park Ranger Mike Maslona, “Along with preserving wildlife and historic sites, Cades Cove also preserves a dark, clear night sky. In more developed areas outside the Park, the amount of artificial light tends to both reduce the viewer’s night vision and to wash out the fainter stars.”
Participants for the program should park near the exhibit shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road where a ranger will be to escort the group about one-third 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 which can be used for stargazing, as well. In case of rain, the program will be cancelled.