KINGSPORT – Bays Mountain Parks free observing sessions of our skies – both night and day – have returned! StarWatch, a program allowing the public to enjoy the splendor of the night sky at the parks observatories, returns every Saturday night in March and April, while SunWatch will take place every Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. near the parks dam allowing the public to safely view the sun.
Hosted by park staff and Bays Mountain Astronomy Club members operating the parks telescopes, as well as their own, StarWatch offers an exciting tour of the night sky. Viewers can gaze at the moons craters and imagine themselves flying over in a spacecraft, and also witness celestial places of star birth and star death.
Sessions are held each Saturday night in March and April starting at dusk. If the weather does not cooperate, an alternative activity will be held in the Planetarium.
SunWatch is a great way to learn about the sun, our nearest star. Observing programs are held each clear Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the dam. Participants can witness the sun up close and in detail possibly getting a chance to see sunspots, dark patches on the suns photosphere that are often the size of the earth! Unlike StarWatch, no alternative programming will be available should weather conditions impact SunWatch programs.
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 nearly 40 miles of hiking trails, a state-of-the-art planetarium, wildlife habitats, ropes course with zip line, fun exhibits, a 44-acre lake, trails for mountain biking and much, much more.