Explore the galaxy with Bays Mountain Planetarium shows

Matthew Lane • Nov 11, 2019 at 3:30 PM

KINGSPORT — What’s our place in the universe? Can we “hear” gravity?

Both are good questions, and the answers can be found by checking out the stellar programs now airing in the planetarium at Bays Mountain Park.


The main program now showing is “Einstein’s Gravity Playlist.” Debuting on Tuesday, the program explores the ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves. Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916, and a century later, scientists detected them using incredibly precise laser technology here on Earth.

In honor of this long-anticipated detection, the scientists who created the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017.

In this planetarium show, viewers follow Lucia, a Ph.D. student in physics, on an exploration of how gravitational waves are formed, how they move through the universe, and how scientists use her work to hear them.

“Einstein’s Gravity Playlist” was created through a collaboration between Montana State University’s eXtreme Gravity Institute, the Department of Physics, the School of Film and Photography, and the School of Music. Run time is about 35 minutes.


The secondary program showing during the month of November is “Under the Milky Way,” which began earlier this month. The 35-minute-long program highlights our very own galaxy.

You’ll learn about the structure of the Milky Way, how it was formed, and take a look at our continuing understanding of what our galaxy is and how large it is.

The show includes a live presentation utilizing some of the capabilities of the planetarium’s Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector, as well as its digital projection system. Viewers will see our current night sky and learn how we fit into the Milky Way. The program concludes by transforming our position on Earth, traveling down to the Southern Hemisphere and spying the two largest dwarf galaxies that orbit us, the Magellanic Clouds.


Main Show: Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Alternate Show: Saturday & 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 baysmountain.com.