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Venture to new celestial horizons and explore the Universe’s darkest mysteries at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium. A full slate of planetarium and astronomy programs will keep any space-lover busy this spring.

“Exploring New Horizons” returns as the planetarium’s alternate feature this March. This in-house production takes an exciting look at the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of Pluto. The planetarium operator will follow the show with an update on New Horizons’ recent flyby of Ultima Thule, the farthest Solar System object to be explored. Perfect for the whole family, this show focuses on planetary exploration and discovery and how it affects our understanding of the Solar System. The show is followed by a live tour of the current night sky.

The main feature through May, “The Dark Matter Mystery,” explores questions that researchers all over the world are trying to answer. What keeps galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the Universe, and what makes it look the way it does today? Approximately a quarter of the Universe is filled with a mysterious glue—dark matter. Scientists know it’s out there, but what it’s made out of is one of the biggest questions in contemporary astrophysics. In this planetarium show, join scientists on their hunt for dark matter with experiments in space and deep underground. Will they be able to solve “The Dark Matter Mystery?”

Beginning on March 2, “Exploring New Horizons” will play Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. “The Dark Matter Mystery” plays Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m. and weekends at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Catch these fascinating show before their run ends on April 28. Both shows last approximately 35 minutes.

For those that prefer a more hands-on experience, Bays Mountain Park’s free outdoor observing sessions return this spring. “SunWatch” and “StarWatch” are great opportunities to learn about stars both near to and far from our planet.

Witness the Sun in close detail at “SunWatch” every clear Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 3:30 p.m. at the dam. A member of the planetarium staff or the Bays Mountain Astronomy club will help guests look safely through a telescope at the Sun. Keep an eye out for dark patches—those may be Sunspots larger than the Earth!

On Saturday evenings in March and April, the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club hosts “StarWatch.” This free program gives guests the chance to observe the night sky in all its splendor from the top of the mountain. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, an alternate activity will be held in the planetarium theater. “StarWatch” dates for this spring are March 2 & 9 at 7 p.m.; March 16, 23 & 30 at 8 p.m.; and every Saturday in April at 8:30 p.m.

All observing sessions are free, though Park entrance fees apply. Planetarium tickets are $5 per person. Children ages five and younger receive free admission with a paying adult, and Park Association members also receive free admission. For more information on Bays Mountain’s planetarium shows or group ticket costs, please visit or call (423) 229-9447.