For most of the year, the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, nestled 30 miles south of Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest, concerns itself with scientific duties.
Except for Space Day.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, the entire campus, including the inflatable planetarium, enormous telescopes and the institute-built scale model of the solar system—will be open to visitors of all ages.
“We’d love to be open to the public every day, but we just don’t have the staff,” PARI spokesperson John Avant tells Xpress. “This is the day when anyone can come see the premises [and] have some fun. It’s good for all ages, from the very young to the old. These are the only telescopes like this in the area—most people have only seen them in the movies.”
Other highlights of Space Day include a new model of the earth’s air currents, details about the history of the site (originally a NASA satellite-tracking facility and then a top-secret National Security Agency listening post), and radio-astronomy presentations from students in the institute’s Space Science Program.
For directions and more details, visit pari.edu.