Mars will be the focus of the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club (BMAC) on February 20, 2010. This free special observing event begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Bays Mountain Observatories.
About every two years the positions of Earth and Mars get close enough in their respective orbits that Mars will look slightly larger than at other times in a telescope. While Mars will not appear as large as the moon, viewers may be able to witness some fascinating details of the red planets surface; such as spotting its northern polar ice cap or some dark features made of basalt.
Utilizing a variety of large telescopes, members of the BMAC will also be focusing their high-powered lenses on Mars, the moon, and other celestial delights. If the weather does not cooperate, an alternative program about Mars will be held in the planetarium and presented by BMAC member Mark Marquette.
Attendees are advised to dress appropriately for cold weather and should plan to arrive at, or just before, the 7:00 p.m. start time to enjoy a short introduction. Astronomy enthusiasts of all levels of interest and expertise are welcome.
Annually, more than 150,000 visitors pass through Bays Mountain Park making it one of the State of Tennessees Top 50 Most Visited Attractions, according to the State of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
One of the nations largest city-owned parks with 3,550 acres, Bays Mountain Park features 38 miles of hiking trails, a state-of-the-art planetarium, wildlife habitats, fun exhibits, a 44-acre lake, trails for mountain biking and much, much more.