PARI is open by appointment.  Availability is limited during June and July.  Contact info@pari.edu, click visit, or calendar above to schedule your visit.

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Dark Sky Park

Dark Sky Park

Certified by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA)

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PARI is recognized by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), as only one of two Dark Sky Parks in North Carolina. We pride ourselves on maintaining a dark night sky, not only because it allows for ideal astronomical observations, but because preserving the night sky also benefits our health and environment.

See just how dark our skies are!

Effects of Light Pollution

Studies have shown that increased light pollution is linked to disruptions in sleep patterns, obesity, diabetes, mental health disorders and various chronic health conditions.  Many species in the wild have evolved to rely on uninterrupted periods of darkness at night and need darkness to survive. A naturally dark site reduces the effects of electric lighting on the environment, improves the well-being, health, and safety of our human and wildlife population and decreases energy consumption.

Protect Our Night Sky

Protecting darkness is key to ecological integrity and sustaining a healthy population and environment. Visit darksky.org to learn more about this initiative.

How to View at PARI

PARI has several options to help you experience our dark skies.  They can all be found on our calendar.

  • For the observer with their own equipment and a quiet night under the stars, look for Dark Sky Astronomy Night events.
  • For an experience guided by a PARI astronomer and paired with talks and other activities, look at our many other evening events.
  • While our focus is on schools, PARI also frequently works with scouting groups, community organizations, clubs, and private groups to create custom experiences.  If your group would like a night time trip to PARI, we recommend planning your visit ahead of time as our calendar fills up fast!

Other Places to View

We hope one of our options can be a part of your visit to the region.  But, if your stay in the Pisgah National Forest doesn’t bring you to PARI, there are some other places star-gazers like to stop that are close by.

These overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway are also nestled deep in the Pisgah National Forest and far from city lights.  Many have ample space to set up a telescope.  You can even see PARI from some!

Sometimes inclement weather can cause the Blue Ridge Parkway to close.  Check their Parkway Road Conditions page before heading out.

Sleeping Under a Dark Sky

Many of our events offer an option for overnight accommodations.  Camping or indoor lodging is available.  Outside of these events, overnight stays are subject to site availability and group size.

Another option is the Pisgah National Forest, which has many campgrounds and other types of overnight options available.  Many require pre-registration and a fee so make sure to check them out ahead of time.  

Plan your visit to PARI

Summer Skies Evening Viewings – Limited Series

Available Viewing Dates and Registration

ASTRO ART DATES and REGISTRATION

Join PARI astronomers for our limited series of night sky observing for the Summer of 2022.  We will discover distant galaxies as we cruise through space and surf the depths of the Milky Way to reveal distant celestial wonders.  Peer toward the center of our galaxy as the Milky Way lights up the sky from our Internationally Certified Dark Sky Park.

Tickets are limited for this intimate experience with the night sky. Get your ticket today to ensure your spot for this unique adventure through space.

This program is a rain or shine event.  No refunds will be given due to poor weather or no shows.  Alternate programming is planned for poor weather events.

 

Geminids Meteor Shower Experience

Have you ever wished upon a shooting star?  Now is your chance!  Enjoy an evening under the stars and observing the Geminids meteor shower at our historic, mountaintop, Internationally certified Dark Sky Park! 

The Geminids meteors are often bold, white and bright. On a dark night, you can often catch 50 or more meteors per hour in a dark, moonless sky.  These meteors are sure to dazzle brighter than the holiday lights. Grab your coats, hot coffee or hot chocolate, friends and family then come to PARI for an unforgettable winter night.

The greatest number of meteors typically fall in the wee hours after midnight.  Astronomers and telescopes will also be available earlier in the evening to view the dark skies.

For additional information please email PARI at programs@pari.edu.

REGISTER HERE – CABIN PACKAGE

REGISTER HERE – CAMPING PACKAGE

REGISTER HERE – EVENING ONLY

 

Orionids Meteor Shower – Evening Ticket

Have you ever wished upon a shooting star?  October 20, 2022 is your chance!  Enjoy an evening under the stars and observing the Orionids meteor shower at our historic, mountaintop, Internationally certified Dark Sky Park!

PARI astronomers will show you the night sky and its hidden wonders with telescopes available and plenty of open space for you to sit or lie back and watch the sky as meteors dazzle the night away.  PARI educators will also be available to answer your questions.

REGISTER HERE – EVENING TICKET – 8-10pm; Thursday, October 20, 2022

Preregistration is required.

CABIN and CAMPING packages also available.

Moons of Jupiter – Evening Viewing – 7-9pm

Join PARI on January 8, 2022 as we celebrate the largest planet in our solar system!  412 years ago this week Galileo Galilei spotted the four brightest moons of Jupiter and in honor of that monumental discovery we are sharing our best telescopes and Internationally certified dark sky park to observe this planet, the moon and other fantastic objects you can only see with a telescope!  Grab your coats, hot coffee or hot chocolate, friends and family then come to PARI for an unforgettable winter night.

This ticket is for evening viewing from 7-9pm only. If you would like to spend the evening with us check out our cabin or camping packages.

PARI is typically cooler than surrounding areas so make sure you dress appropriately for outdoor viewing.

This is a rain or shine event.  If weather does not permit viewing there will be alternate indoor programming.  No refunds will be issued!

Upon registration you will receive a confirmation email.  If you do not get a confirmation email check your spam folder and make sure you add us to your address book.

Preregistration is required.

REGISTER HERE – 7-9pm Evening Viewing Ticket

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower EVENING VIEWING

Have you ever wished upon a star? Now is your chance! Join PARI from 9-11pm on May 5, 2022 for an evening viewing the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower and the night sky at our historic, mountaintop, Internationally certified Dark Sky Park.

Grab a picnic blanket or bring your own lawn chair and sit back and relax while enjoying the show that space provides as meteors rain down throughout the night from Halley’s Comet!  This meteor shower is expected to produce 10 to 30 meteors per hour.  PARI astronomers will also be on hand with telescopes for you to experience the night sky.

REGISTER HERE for May 5, 2022 9-11pm

Want more PARI?? Check out our OVERNIGHT CABIN  and OVERNIGHT CAMPING packages for the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower that PARI will host on May 6-7, 2022.

For additional information please contact PARI at 828-862-5554 or programs@pari.edu.

(*Children under 5 are free)