MCC Bare Dark Sky Observatory grand opening set for May 25

August 2015

Pictured are participants in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bare Dark Sky Observatory.

Formerly called the EnergyXchange, the Mayland Earth to Sky Park is home to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory and the future home of a state-of-the-art planetarium, micro-propagation/aquaponics & hydroponics facility, visitors’ center, artist studios, garden trails, and agriculture center.

The public is welcome to experience the wonders of the universe through a 34 inch telescope, the largest in the Southeast, at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory on May 25. Activities will begin at 4 PM with a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 7:30 PM and telescope viewing at dark. A food truck will also be on site during the event. A rain date for this event has been planned for June 1.

Named for Warren and Larissa Bare, the site sits atop a peak elevation of 2,736 ft. and offers a 360 degree sky view at Mayland Community College’s Earth to Sky Park in Yancey County. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) designated the Earth to Sky Park as the first IDA certified park in the Southeastern United States. The outdoor lighting consists entirely of fully- shielded, LED fixtures to protect the integrity of the site. The Bare Dark Sky Observatory consists of the 34” telescope, a planet viewing telescope, and classroom space for MCC’s astronomy courses. The public is welcome at viewing events and memberships are available. Future plans for the MCC Earth to Sky Park include a planetarium, walking trails and gardens, an aquaponics/ hydroponics facility, a micro-propagation lab, and artist studios.

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