Night Skies over the Obed – Viewing Jupiter at Opposition on Tuesday, May 8

Wartburg, TN (2018-05-02)  Starry night skies are an important part of the special places the National Park Service protects.  Our national parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness and provide amazing opportunities to experience this critical resource.  The Obed Wild and Scenic River is one of these special places where you can enjoy the quiet, dark solitude of nature at night, and now the Obed is one of the newest Dark Sky Parks designated by the International Dark Sky Association.

“Stars over Obed” by Lori Dantzler (Source: NPS)

Join Ranger Rick Ryan on Tuesday, May 8, at 8:45 p.m. (ET) for a special viewing opportunity of the planet Jupiter which will be at its brightest and largest for the year.  In addition to viewing the Jovian planet and its four Galilean moons, we’ll also enjoy the spectacular dark sky conditions in the park to view the bright stars, star clusters, and galaxies in the Big Dipper asterism of Ursa Major.  Telescopes will be available for sky observations, including the park’s 12-inch Dobsonian Reflector telescope.  Amateur astronomers are also invited to bring their telescopes to join our viewing program and may contact the visitor center for more information.

Participants should meet at Lilly Overlook which is a short walk from the Lilly Overlook parking area.  The parking area is located a quarter-mile after crossing the Lilly Bridge on Ridge Road in Morgan County, Tennessee.  Please wear sturdy shoes and bring a red-light flashlight, blanket, or chair for comfortable seating.  All ages are welcome to attend this free event, but children must be accompanied by an adult.

This event is subject to favorable clear sky weather conditions.  In the event of inclement weather or cloud cover, the event will be cancelled.  Be sure to call the visitor center before 5 p.m. on the day of the event to confirm the status of the event.  For more information, please contact the visitor center at (423) 346-6294.