Dark Sky Park
North Carolina, USA
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.