Cherry Springs State Park
Cherry Springs State Park is nearly as remote and wild today as it was two centuries ago. Night sky enthusiasts flock to the park for its dark skies which are famous for great views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena. Named for the large stands of black cherry trees originally found in the area, the 82-acre state park is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. The Susquehannock Trail passes nearby and offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking.
Interested in observing the dark night skies? The following information will help you make the most of your first visit to Cherry Springs State Park.
Short Term Stargazing
If you would like to come out and enjoy the magnificent night sky at Cherry Springs and only wish to gaze for a few hours, you may do so at the Night Sky Viewing area located north of Rt. 44 (opposite the gated Astronomy Observation Field). Public parking lots are located here along with several information kiosks and waysides. You may follow the walkway out to the public program area where benches are located and you will be shielded from passing vehicle lights. There is also a backlit summer sky map wayside located on this pathway. Press the button at the lower side of the display to activate the red light.
Although white light is permitted, a red filter or cover for your flashlight is recommended to preserve your night vision. Please remember to always direct your light downward.
Cherry Springs State Park is located on top of a mountain and the weather generally tends to be on the cool side. It can also be damp. It is recommended that you wear proper clothing and foot gear. Feel free to bring out your own blankets, lawn chairs, binoculars and telescopes when you visit the park.
Explore the Calendar of Events for astronomy programs being presented at the park.
Pets are prohibited on the Astronomy Observation Field while astronomers are present.
Getting Started Stargazing
Whether you view the night sky with telescope, binoculars or the naked eye, here are a few tips to enhance your stargazing experience:
Astronomy Web sites also give up to date information on when the space station and other satellites pass overhead, the time and direction of iridium flares, solar flares, aurora bulletins, and the occurrence of comets and meteor showers.
Long Term and Overnight Stargazing
For information on stargazing overnight on the Astronomy Field, explore serious stargazing.