Serious Stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park
A combination of attributes makes Cherry Springs ideal for stargazing and astronomy.
- The field is at the top of a 2,300-foot high mountain. The surrounding state forest is relatively undeveloped and nearby communities are in valleys, shielding any light that might affect the park.
- The location of the park, 41.6501 degrees north, 77.8164 degrees west, offers a great view of the nucleus of the Milky Way Galaxy.
- The Astronomy Field offers an excellent 360 degree view of the night sky.
- All lighting in the park is shielded and all white light has been converted to red.
Registration: Astronomers wishing to use the Astronomy Observation Field are required to register and pay an $11.00 user fee (as of 2011). Please see the park bulletin board for fee schedule and to acquire a fee payment envelope. Payment should be deposited in the green metal fee tube located in front of the restrooms.
Arriving After Dark: It is in your best interest to arrive early. If you arrive after dark then you must park in the public lot across the road and walk in.
Galaxy Passes: For a one time fee you will have access to Overnight Stargazing for the rest of the year rather than paying the per night set-up fee. These passes are only available through the Lyman Run State Park office. 814-435-5010
Wireless Access: Available with some restrictions for astronomers using the Astronomy Observation Field. Visit www.csspdarkskyfund.org/home/wireless_access for additional information.
Closing the Gate: When the field is in use, the gate may be closed at dusk (do NOT lock) and the light block tarp can be dropped. Please undo the end straps first, then the center strap. Tarp may have water in it, so step back when lowering. The last person to leave the field is responsible for rolling the tarp back up and securing.
Food, Wildlife and Trash: Food on a picnic table or in a tent will attract pests. Store food in a vehicle to prevent damage to your equipment. Please wash dishes in a dish pan, then dispose of the water. No dishwashing is permitted in the restrooms or at the hydrants. Food scraps invite scavengers, such as black bears, raccoons, opossums and skunks. Cherry Springs has a carry-in: carry-out trash policy.
Electricity: Electricity is available on the Astronomy Field from 120-volt ground fault protected power outlets in RV style pedestals (six per pedestal). When the field is in heavy use, outlets must be shared. Please be courteous of your fellow stargazers. Electrical pedestals are for the charging of telescope batteries and small appliance or laptop use. Camper hook-up is prohibited.
Concrete Telescope Pads: Pads, ranging in size from 4’ to 6’, are located randomly across the field. Some astronomers prefer the pads while others like to set up directly on the grass.
Emergencies: Emergency information and phone numbers are posted at the registration kiosk. Potter County is a part of the 911 Emergency Service System. A pay phone is located near the public parking lot.
Cell Phones: Cherry Springs is very remote and most cell phones do not work.
Lights and Flashlights: All lights must have red filters or need to be fully shielded. No white light is permitted on the Astronomy Observation Field.
Green Lasers: Green laser pointers are prohibited at all times and for all reasons in the park.
Campfires: Open fires are prohibitted. Grills are located in the picnic area at the pavilion. Traditional campsites with fire rings are located in the park campground accross the road.
Driving on the Field: The speed limit on the Astronomy Field is 5 mph.
Pets: Pets are not allowed on the Astronomy Observation Field while the field is in use, in the campground, or at public night sky programs.
Alcoholic Beverages: Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in all Pennsylvania State Parks.
Rules and Regulations: All state park regulations apply.