Mayland Earth to Sky Park & Bare Dark Sky Observatory (U.S.)

The summer Milky Way above Blue Ridge Observatory & Star Park

The summer Milky Way above Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park. Photo by Todd Bush.

blueridge_map

Designated

2014

Category

Dark Sky Park

Address

North Carolina, USA

Contact

Blair Belt
Website

Land Area

0.02 km2

Documents

Application
Announcement
Annual Reports

About

Mayland Earth to Sky Park & Bare Dark Sky Observatory, formerly the Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park, is situated six miles west of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The six-acre (2.4-hectare) site, surrounded by rugged mountain terrain and the Pisgah National Forest, is owned by Yancey County (NC) and managed by Mayland Community College. The site was formerly known as the EnergyXchange, a project in which methane waste gas emitted by an old landfill heats horticultural greenhouses and artists’ studios. MCC opened a new public observatory with a roll-off roof at the site in 2017, featuring a custom-built a 86-cm f/3.6 Newtonian telescope and a Meade 35-cm LX200 telescope for public viewing. Plans are under way for construction to begin in 2019 of a new 9.1 meter dome Planetarium in the Park.

Weather

Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for viewing the night sky at Mayland Earth to Sky Park & Bare Dark Sky Observatory (35.92797, -82.18417). Don’t forget to plan your trip during the new moon and astronomical twilight to enhance the viewing experience!

Media

A public event at the newly-inaugurated Bare Dark Sky Observatory, summer 2017.

 

Plans for future planetarium, renovations, and landscaping.