MCC hosts Bare Dark Sky Observatory grand opening

August 2015

Mayland Community College held the grand opening of the Bare Dark Sky Observatory on June 1. Named for Warren and Larissa Bare, the observatory is located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park (formally the EnergyXchange) in Yancey County. The observatory will allow community members an opportunity to experience the wonders of the universe, while providing Astronomy students with hands-on learning. 

The observatory, sits at an elevation of 2,736 feet and offers a 360-degree view, is an International Dark Sky Association certified site. 

The observatory houses the “Sam Scope,” named in memory of Samuel Phillips, a telescope that features a f/3.6 StarStructure Newtonian telescope, with a 34-inch (0.86 meter) mirror. At this time, it is the largest telescope in the Southeast in dark skies dedicated for classroom and recreational activities. The Samuel L. Phillips Family Foundation, a local nonprofit organization, provided funding for fabrication of the telescope. The observatory also has a 14-inch telescope donated by Glover Kerlin. This scope allows for night sky photography and viewing of planets and stars.

The observatory is open by reservation only. To make a reservation, see an event calendar, or schedule a group please call 828-766-1233 or visit www.mayland.edu/observatory. Admission fees will vary depending on group size and a technician will be on site during reserved events to operate the telescope and facility.

 

Guests view the 34 inch telescope at MCC’s Bare Dark Sky Observatory.  

Guests view the 34 inch telescope at MCC’s Bare Dark Sky Observatory.

 Guests enjoy the sites while viewing from the 34 inch telescope at the MCC Bare Dark Sky Observatory.

Guests enjoy the sites while viewing from the 34 inch telescope at the MCC Bare Dark Sky Observatory.