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Dinosaur planetarium show debuting at Bays Mountain Park

Matthew Lane • Mar 13, 2020 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT — Bays Mountain Park is putting out a call for all dinosaur lovers and star enthusiasts.

In case you enjoy learning more about one or the other (or maybe both), then the park is where you need to be this spring as two new planetarium shows explore both topics.

THE MAIN EVENT

First up is “Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?” — the planetarium’s main feature for March through August. Did a space rock 6 miles wide really slam into the Earth 66 million years ago and wipe out 75 percent of all living species at that time, including the dinosaurs?

Explore these impacts and cosmic collisions across the solar system in this dynamic show produced by the Milwaukee Public Museum. The show includes footage from the first iridium layer found in Gubbio, Italy.

AN ALTERNATE SHOW

The alternate show airing in the planetarium for March and April is “Discover the Stars” — a program that takes viewers beyond a simple observation of the night sky and delves into the fascinating lives of stars.

On a clear, dark night, most of us, at one time or another, have gazed upon the stars and wondered about all those tiny points of light. Many of us are able to identify different patterns and constellations in the stars. But, what are those tiny points of light? This show reveals what is similar about all stars and what makes them unique.

“Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?” premieres March 14 and will play Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m. and weekends at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. “Discover the Stars” will air on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Both shows run approximately 40 minutes and feature a tour of the current night sky.

WATCHING THE SUN & STARS

If you prefer a more hands-on experience, Bays Mountain Park’s free outdoor observing sessions — “SunWatch” and “StarWatch” — return this spring. Both events are great opportunities to learn about stars both near to and far from our planet.

From March through October, witness the sun in close detail at “SunWatch” every clear Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the dam. A member of the planetarium staff or the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club will help guests look safely through a telescope at the sun.

On Saturday evenings in March and April, the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club will host “StarWatch” events. This free program gives you the chance to observe the night sky in all its splendor from the top of the mountain. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, an alternate activity will be held in the planetarium theater.

The “StarWatch” dates for this spring are:

- March 14, 21 and 28 at 8 p.m.

- Every Saturday in April at 8:30 p.m.

- May 2 at 8:30 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

All observing sessions are free, though park entrance fees apply. Planetarium tickets are $5 per person. Children ages five and younger receive free admission with a paying adult, and Park Association members also receive free admission.

For more information on Bays Mountain’s planetarium shows or group ticket costs, visit baysmountain.com or call (423) 229-9447.

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