Star Light, Star Bright

See the stars like never before in the Smoky Mountains!

A combination of fresh mountain air, high altitude and remote location make the Great Smoky Mountain National Park a prime place for viewing the heavens above us.

The Astronomy Club of Asheville invites stargazers to join them to observe nature’s brilliant display at 8 p.m. on May 31 in the Purchase Knob region of the park. This special stargaze event is presented in partnership with the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.

Not only will gazers be treated to breathtaking views of their favorite spring and summer constellations, but they’ll also be able to see the year’s most significant triple planetary conjunction. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will hover above the horizon right after dusk.

Reservations are required for the upcoming star gaze event. To reserve a spot for this family-friendly event, call (828) 926-6251 or e-mail Susan Sachs at

If you’d like to do some stargazing on your own in the park or even at home, here are a few tips that can help make the experience more enjoyable.

  • Use a red light. According to Discovery News, it can take up to 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to seeing in the dark. Turning on a bright flashlight to consult a map or sky chart can ruin all that acclimation. But, a red light won’t impact your ability to see in the dark.
  • Don’t forget bug spray. Mosquitos and other pests might see you and your star-watching friends as a tasty evening snack. Give exposed skin a coat of insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay.
  • Download an app. Check out the app store on your smartphone or tablet for unique stargazing apps. A favorite for iPhone and iPad is StarWalk.