We must emphasize the exclusivity of the astronomical site we are visiting. PARI will be limiting its access for this eclipse. They understand the importance of restricting attendance so that you can enjoy the subtle, natural activity that is caused by an eclipse. Safety is another, very important reason. Our group will be the largest in attendance for all of PARI and have reserved an isolated area that has its own bathrooms. PARI will have a guarded gate and be checking attendance. If you register with our excursion, then you MUST attend via our buses and NOT your own vehicle. If you register with us and are not riding on our bus, you will NOT gain access to PARI.
PARI is the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute situated outside Rosman, NC. It has a very special history and is a wonderful touch to the spectacle of a total solar eclipse. A brief description: it was originally established in 1962 as part of NASA’s tracking stations for the early space program that included the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs. It then became part of the Department of Defense for tracking satellites. Then PARI was established in 1998 to become a combined educational, outreach, and professional research institute. Over the years it has grown and is an astronomical wonder. It’s arsenal of radio telescopes includes two with a diameter of 85 feet, one that is 40 feet, and one that is 15 feet. The last one is called “Smiley” and is used for remote, student research. You’ll learn why it’s called “Smiley” on the tour…. They also have many optical telescopes, an archive of historic photographic plates, and much more. More about PARI can be found here: http://www.pari.edu.
There will be bathrooms nearby as well as the bus. But, to capture the rise of animal activity once totality approaches, the bus will not be running, nor will any motors or generators that create any noise be allowed to run. The building nearby will also have air conditioning. PARI will also have a first responders emergency service available. Water will be available at the bathrooms. If you need power for a telescope, you’ll need to bring a small battery. In case of inclement weather, there will be live, NASA coverage of the eclipse from other areas of the US. There will NOT be any wifi nor internet available.
A major component of this excursion is the inclusion of meals. Lunch will be provided from the catering services at PARI. The details of the meal will be announced prior to the event. There will be a vegetarian option.
The meal that follows an eclipse is traditionally one that is grander. One hopes in celebration following the eclipse in clear skies…. As such, we will be providing an extremely nice catered meal by Corner Kitchen Catering at the Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC.
The venue is Asheville’s oldest brewery and highlights a tasting room, gift shop, and more. There will be many of their brews on tap as well as hard cider, mead and wine. Each registrant will receive tickets for two drinks. Additional drinks can be purchased. We will be dining in the two-story Event Center surrounded by clerestory windows allowing majestic views of the surrounding mountains.
The meal will be exceptional. Corner Kitchen Catering is considered to be the finest caterer in Asheville. If you’ve ever seen the sheer quantity of excellent restaurants and caterers in Asheville, this is quite a boasting point. Here is the buffet menu:
We will bring a small fleet of telescopes that have safe, solar filters for the group to use. The filters will not be removable so as to guarantee safety. These telescopes will be mainly for visual use. If you want to do extensive photography, then you’ll need to bring your own equipment. Please note: There will be limited space on the buses for equipment. NO GIANT TELESCOPES. Staying small and lightweight will be best. If your equipment can fit in a standard overhead airplane bin, that would be ideal. Please note: It is a common mistake to bring equipment that has not been fully tested and experimented with for normal solar use or photography. The last thing you want to do is to learn how to use equipment at the event itself. Plan on a few weeks or more of training to be prepared.
It is imperative to stay safe. There’s nothing especially dangerous in viewing an eclipse. It is just the same if viewing the Sun at any time. But, the Sun is so bright, one needs to dim it 100,000 times. The best filtering design is to have a solar filter PRIOR to any equipment and your eyes. Don’t forget to remove or block any finderscopes! Also, the filter needs to be designed for solar viewing. There are many materials and techniques out there, but only a few are proper for prolonged viewing. If you are not sure, please ask. Every registrant will be provided a pair of solar glasses for naked-eye viewing.
The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse is the first total solar eclipse to occur in the contiguous US since 1979. The last total eclipse like this one, in which the path stretched across the US, was in 1918! There will be much hype and anticipation in the social media.
The true goal is to be able to see it and enjoy its splendor. You are riding on the planet Earth that is spinning every day. But this day, the Moon will travel in front of the Sun from west to east and align perfectly with you and the Earth. You will be bathed in the Moon’s shadow as it passes over you!
The path of totality is very narrow, about 70 miles wide. If you are inside this path, you will see the Moon completely block the Sun and you will be able to see the Sun’s much fainter Corona. The Corona is wispy and ghostly white. It’s brightness is about that of the full moon at night. It is the outermost layer of the Sun comprised of highly energized particles. Its low density and high charge translates into a very high temperature of millions of degrees.
Finding a safe location to view an eclipse is very important. In order to accommodate this need, combined with being at such a unique astronomical site, we will be situated well within the path, but not in the dead center. Dead center in our area would provide totality of 2m 38s. The length of totality at PARI will be 1m 40s.
The weather prospects are about 50/50. No matter where you are, there will always be the chance of clouds. Because we will be a large group, we cannot be mobile. This made the choice of PARI so important. The experience will still be significant as we’ll be in such an important and interesting place.
Every registrant will receive one t-shirt with the size of their choice. Additional ones can only be pre-ordered. They will have the stunning, original art on the front with a commemorative logo on the left sleeve. The shirt will be a rich red and 6.1 oz. pre-shrunk 100% cotton.
The MeadowView Marriott Resort is a 4+ star hotel and conference center situated at Exit 3 on I-26 in Kingsport, TN. It is a beautiful facility that has over 300 rooms, an excellent restaurant, and much more. Visit their website for all the details:
We have arranged for a special rate of $139.00 per night plus tax for the nights of the 20th and 21st. Call 1-800-820-5055 for reservations. Use the title: “BMP Eclipse Expedition” for the special rate. This rate will be held until July 24, 2017.
Click here for the link with the special rate embedded.
The cost of this unique experience has been kept very low as we are non-profit and we are just covering our expenses. As such, there are no discounts.
If you are not able to attend, but want to transfer your registration to someone else, there will be a $25 transfer fee. The event coordinator MUST be made aware of the personnel change due to security measures taken at PARI.
To register, please fill out the registration form or call the Bays Mountain Planetarium director (and Eclipse Event Coordinator), Adam Thanz at 423-224-2532. You’ll be notified of the detailed schedule upon registration. A complete PDF document of this event can be downloaded here.
Spaces are extremely limited and available first come-first served. Don’t miss out!