Pit Stop: Stargazing

When you think of metro Atlanta, you probably think about bustling city life, historic landmarks, and vibrant culture. But, have you ever wondered, surrounded by the city’s bright lights, where you can make a pit stop and stargaze? If so, this one’s for you! Let’s get stargazing.

For our first pit stop, did you know Georgia Tech usually hosts public nights once a month when the weather is clear for stargazing? Now you know! Head to the Georgia Tech Observatory on Ferst Dr. NW and check out their astronomy.gatech.edu/Observatory.php website for more information. The next public night will be in the Fall, and you can expect the schedule to be released on August 1st. Visit their website for an updated schedule, driving directions, an invite to join their email list and more!

Along with the Georgia Tech Observatory, a couple of museums offer their own observatories: Fernbank Science Center & Tellus Science Museum. Fernbank’s observatory has the largest telescope in the southeastern United States (cool, right?) and offers observations free to the public every Thursday and Friday from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting. Yes, you read that right – this observatory is completely free! For more information, visit their Facebook page @Fernbank Science Center. While they don’t have the largest telescope in the southeastern US, Tellus Science Museum’s observatory in Cartersville still allows viewers to explore the Moon and planets in our solar system with their 20-inch telescope. They also have observatory tours, special events and astronomy workshops! Admission to the Tellus Science Museum’s observatory can be purchased alongside general admission tickets. For more information, visit tellusmuseum.org.

We’ve given you three great options to stargaze using a telescope in an observatory, but what about spots where you can stargaze on your own and just be out in nature? We bet you didn’t know there is an astronomy village set up by stargazers – 11 acres with lots sold to amateur astronomers and electrical hookups for RVs, campers and tents. Located only about 90 miles east of Atlanta, in one of the darkest corners of Georgia and perfect for personal stargazing, is the Deerlick Astronomy Village, deerlickgroup.com. The Atlanta Astronomy Club hosts an annual Peach State Star Gaze here, and this year, the event is September 29th to October 6th, 2024. For more information and to register, visit atlantaastronomy.org/pssg.

We also recommend stargazing at Black Rock Mountain State Park, Brasstown Bald, Stephen C. Foster State Park (the first Georgia site to be certified as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association), Jekyll Island and Vogel State Park – just to name a few. Thankfully, Georgia has plenty of wide-open spaces for your next star-gazing pit stop. Fall and winter are the best times to stargaze in Georgia, so mark your calendars, grab your binoculars or a telescope, and choose one of these spots to take in the starry night sky.