Journey into space through new Bays Mountain planetarium shows

Matthew Lane • Sep 9, 2019 at 7:30 AM

KINGSPORT — Take a trip to the planet closest to the sun this fall at Bays Mountain Park. And if planetary adventure is not your forte, maybe you’d just prefer gazing at the stars from your own backyard.

Either way, Bays Mountain Park has got you covered. Two new planetarium shows began last week at the park and will continue airing through Nov. 10. Here’s some information about each show:


“The Transit of Mercury featuring ‘Solar Quest’ ” is a unique show, during which visitors will first watch a short video from the Buhl Planetarium about the sun and then learn about Mercury — the closest planet to our star.

Jason Dorfman, the park’s planetarian, will conclude the show with a live presentation on the upcoming Mercury transit on Nov. 11. It’ll include full-dome animations and a fun, surprise activity. The runtime of the show is about 40 minutes.

Park guests are invited to view the transit of Mercury on Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


For the next two months, the alternate show will be “Appalachian Skies — Fall,” a live presentation about the current night sky.

You’ll learn about the fascinating constellations and planets you might be able to see from your own backyard. The program highlights the planetarium’s Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector, which generates a fiberoptic star field that’s not only stunning to see, but accurate to what you can see from your own home.

Be sure to bring your binoculars for deep-sky exploration. The show’s runtime is approximately 35 minutes.


— Main show: Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

— Alternate show: Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

— Tickets: $5 for non-members, free for members and children under 6

For more information, call (423) 229-9447 or visit www.baysmountain.com.