Big cities, bright lights, and towns that never sleep… All of these things have their place, but sometimes you just need to get away from all the hustle and bustle and see beauty in its most natural form. This is where the Mayland Earth to Sky Park & Bare Dark Sky Observatory comes in.
Operated by Mayland Community College, the Bare Dark Sky Observatory allows viewers to see the night sky as they’ve never seen it before; under the lens of an f/3.6 StarStructure Newtonian Telescope with a 34 inch mirror. This high-powered telescope (the largest of its kind in NC) allows visitors of the Bare Dark Sky Observatory to view stars, constellations, and the night sky at close range.
Open to the public, this observatory allows for visitors to see 360 degree views of the spectacular night sky at an elevation of 2,736 feet. Bare Dark Sky Observatory is the only southeastern Star Park certified by the International Dark Sky Association.
The Bare Dark Sky Observatory has been recognized on a national level by multiple media outlets, including CBS News, Blue Ridge Outdoors, and Go Camping America, just to name a few. In an article titled “4 Star Gazing Hot Spots in the Appalachian Mountains”, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine named the Bare Dark Sky Observatory one of the four hot spots. Blue Ridge Outdoors writes that the Bare Dark Sky Observatory is “the largest (Newtonian telescope) in the Southeast dedicated for public use”.
According to an article from CNN Travel titled “Dark Skies – 22 Best Places in the World to Stargaze”, Mayland’s Bare Dark Sky Observatory and Star Park came in at number 9 of 22, and was one of only 10 U.S. locations that made the list. According to the photographer listed in the article, Todd Bush, he says “Views of the Milky Way from this site are simply stunning. Future observers here will likely bask in its glow with the unaided eye”].
So what are you waiting for? Go check out the Bare Dark Sky Observatory for yourself! The Mayland Earth to Sky Park and Bare Dark Sky Observatory has viewings one day per week for two hour blocks depending on sunset times. Tickets and reservations are available for purchase on the Mayland Community College website.
Reserve your spot on one of the Community Viewing nights or schedule a trip for your group. Visit Here for Schedules. The Earth to Sky Park is just 9 miles from downtown Spruce Pine. Get Directions Here.