Looking for a change of scenery? Look up to the stars! There is something intriguing about the night sky that draws you in, putting you in a reflective mood or making you yearn to reach further into the vast unknown. These 8 places are perfect for doing just that.
TELLUS MUSEUM / NATIONAL ASTRONOMY DAY
The Tellus Observatory gives visitors a view of the night sky through a 20″ telescope perfect for viewing the moon and planets in our solar system. Tours of the observatory are available during special workshops and events such as NATIONAL ASTRONOMY DAY on Saturday, May 15, 2021. In addition to the museum’s regular exhibits and planetarium shows there will be special activities from 1:00pm to 10:00pm. This family fun event takes you to a landscape museum in the sky!
Observatory and smaller telescopes will be looking at the Sun from 1pm – 6 pm and the Moon 6:00pm – 9:00pm. As it gets dark possible targets will include Mars, Gamma Leo (double star), Star clusters M3 and M5, Ghost of Jupiter Nebula and the galaxies M81 & M82.
Family activities in the great hall take place 1:00pm – 5:00pm. They include star formation, gravity well demonstration, NASA giveaways, and space bingo. Outside near the observatory join in making a nebula and draw a sunspot.
The showing of the Star Wars Movie “The Force Awakens” begins at 5:30pm.
Between 5:00pm and 8:00pm Tellus is giving away star hats and Star Wars masks while supplies last.
Stargaze at 9:30pm and 10:00pm with interpreted “Star Walks.” These personal guided tours of the night sky (weather permitting) include stories about the sky. Get your online tickets in advance off our web site.
Visit Tellus Museum online for all the details and to purchase advance tickets. (All outdoor activities are weather permitting.)
MORE INFO TO KNOW…
May Planets and the Moon 2021
- May 03 – The planet Saturn will appear close to the Moon after midnight.
- May 04 – The planet Jupiter will appear close to the Moon after midnight.
- May 13 – The planet Mercury will appear close to the Moon just after dark.
- May 15 – The planet Mars will appear close to the Moon in the evening sky.
Meteor Shower May 2021
- On the morning of May 6 the Eta Aquariid meteor shower is expected to reach a maximum of 60 meteors per hour. Interested observers should look to the south from about 3:00am to dawn to see this shower. The show should be visible from May 3rd through the 8th. As with all meteor showers, the Eta Aquariid meteor shower is best observed away from city lights under clear, dark skies. Fortunately, the moon will be a waning crescent during this event and will be in the sky; thus, so its light will interfere with observations of fainter meteors.
- This meteor shower was discovered in 1870 and may have been observed as early as 401 AD. The debris which causes the Eta Aquariid meteor shower may be associated with Halley’s comet.
- There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse on the evening of Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Most of it will NOT be visible over Georgia. There will not be another Total Lunar Eclipse visible over Georgia until May of 2022.
GEORGIA STATE PARKS
For those who stay overnight at one of these state parks in Northwest Georgia, you are sure to see the stars as the night sky comes to life. gastatesparks.org
* Fort Mountain State Park – located on top of Fort Mountain between Ellijay and Chatsworth.
* Cloudland Canyon State Park – located on Lookout Mountain off Hwy 136 from Trenton.
* James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park – located off US Hwy 27 south of Summerville. Walk down by the lakes for open skies.
FORT MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY 52 OVERLOOK
At the top of Fort Mountain near the entrance to the State Park is a wide pull-over in the bend of the road where the view is spectacular. During the day you can see the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching southward, but at night the sky is wide open with nothing blocking your view. Take in the sunset and remain for the star show.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN RECREATIONAL AREA
On the outskirts of Rome close to the Chattahoochee National Forest is the perfect place for camping under the stars. There is plenty to do during the day with two lakes for fishing and paddling, bike and hiking trails, geocaching, archery and wildlife viewing. Settle into camp after a full day and enjoy the stars above. No light pollution here! romegeorgia.org
Explore God’s incredible universe at Sunrise Planetarium. Field trips and public showings reveal the solar system, galaxy, and beyond. Explore space at one of two planetarium shows, ride a mini-train and relax with a picnic lunch. (Visit the website for COVID limitations.) Located off Hwy 53 east of Calhoun. sunriseplanetarium.org
Walker County Schools in features Smith Planetarium just outside the city of Chickamauga. There is room for 92 people under a 40’ dome where the night sky is presented. Regular monthly shows are open to the public in addition to groups by appointment. (Please check with the Planetarium for reduced hours due to Covid.) The planetarium normally operates Oct – Dec and mid-Jan – mid-May. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for updates! facebook.com/SmithPlanetarium/