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'Dark Matter' and 'Appalachian Skies' at Bays Mountain's planetarium this winter

STAFF • Updated Jan 7, 2019 at 11:04 AM

KINGSPORT — Explore the mysteries and wonders of the universe this winter at Bays Mountain Park through two new planetarium shows: “The Dark Matter Mystery — Exploring a Cosmic Secret” and “Appalachian Skies — Winter.”

Park officials say the main feature, “Dark Matter Mystery” explores questions that researchers all over the world are trying to answer. What keeps galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the universe, and what makes it look the way it does today? Approximately a quarter of the universe is filled with a mysterious substance known as dark matter. Scientists know it’s out there, but what it’s made of is one of the biggest questions in contemporary astrophysics. In “Dark Matter Mystery,” scientists search for dark matter with experiments in space and deep underground.

“Appalachian Skies — Winter” is the alternate feature for January and February. This show takes the audience on a tour of the evening sky using the planetarium’s spectacular Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector instrument, which generates a star field using fiber optics. Produced in-house and led by planetarium staff, this show teaches viewers which constellations and planets are easily visible in our winter skies.

“Dark Matter Mystery” will play Tuesdays through Fridays at 4 p.m. and weekends at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Catch the show before its run ends on April 28. The planetarium’s alternate feature plays Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Feb. 24. Both shows last approximately 35 minutes.

Planetarium tickets are $5 per person. Children age 5 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.

About Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

Annually, more than 200,000 visitors pass through Bays Mountain Park, making it one of Tennessee’s Top 50 Most Visited Attractions, according to the state’s Department of Tourist Development. One of the nation’s largest city-owned parks with 3,550 acres, Bays Mountain features roughly 40 miles of hiking trails, a state-of-the-art planetarium, wildlife habitats, fun exhibits, a 44-acre lake, a ropes course with zip line, trails for mountain biking and much, much more.