America's State Parks Virginia State Park Ambassadors
Smith Mountain Lake State Park Osprey Cam



Follow Us On:

Follow Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter Follow Us On YouTube Virginia State Parks
Virginia Department Of Conservation And Recreation

Download The Virginia State Parks Mobile App


Virginia State Parks

It's in the Stars

What do Comet Hunting, Women of the Night, and a Planetary Parade have in common?

The answer must be in the stars! They are all astronomy programs scheduled at High Bridge Trail State Park through June of this year (2013). These programs will be presented by Bruce and Karen Bellenir, local amateur astronomers and members of the Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park.

Bruce Bellenir, member of the Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park, prepares for an astronomy program
Bruce Bellenir, member of the Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park, prepares for an astronomy program            

The “Comet Hunting” program is Saturday, March 16th, 2013 beginning on High Bridge at 8:00 p.m.

This particular evening was selected because it offers one of the best potential opportunities for viewing Comet PanSTARRS, which was discovered in 2011 by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (PanSTARRS) telescope on Mount Haleakala in Hawaii.  Comet PanSTARRS may be as bright as some of the sky's brightest stars—or it may require binoculars or a telescope to get a good view. Both types of equipment will be on hand for participants. The event will also include a sky tour of other interesting astronomical objects, including the planet Jupiter, two star clusters, and several prominent constellations.

In celebration of Mother's Day weekend, High Bridge Trail State Park will host a “Women of the Night" astronomy event on Saturday, May 11th, 2013 beginning on High Bridge at 8:45 p.m. 

This program will feature a sky tour of currently visible constellations, including stories related to goddesses, famous mothers, and other women who have been honored by ancient cultures with places in the heavens. Tripod-mounted binoculars and a telescope will help participants get a better view of these and other celestial objects.

Join the “Planetary Parade” astronomy event on Saturday, June 8th, 2013 beginning on High Bridge at 9:00 p.m.

The planet Mercury can be hard to see because it is so close to the sun. This year, early June is the best time to try to spot Mercury. The planet Saturn will also be in the night sky, high overhead near the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. This astronomy event will feature a sky tour pointing out these planets, prominent constellations, and other objects of interest. A telescope and binoculars will be on hand to help participants get a good view.

Stargazing at High Bridge
Stargazing at High Bridge

High Bridge Trail State Park's astronomy events are held near the center of High Bridge where the view of the sky is unobstructed.

This location is approximately 1.25 miles from the closest parking lot (High Bridge Trail State Park's River Road lot), so please allow ample time to traverse the distance. And please be prepared to stay out after dark and bring drinking water. The event is free, but a parking fee applies at the River Road parking lot.

For a list of park events click here.

Visit the High Bridge Trail State Park website here for directions and more information. 

Don't drive all the way home, why not spend the night with us?

  1.       CABINS: None in the park, but nearby Bear Creek Lake and Twin Lakes state parks have cabins.
  2.       CAMPING: None in the park, but nearby Bear Creek Lake, Holliday Lake and Twin Lakes state parks have camping.

For information on availability of other parks' overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Click here for park fees.

Bear Creek Lake State Park Cabin 8 - this is a 2 bedroom cabin sleeps 6

Bear Creek Lake State Park Cabin 8 - this is a 2 bedroom cabin sleeps 6


Published: 02/28/2013

No comments have been submitted for this article yet.


Want to comment on this article? Sign in or register to become part of our online community.






Home Join an Online Outoor Community Get Outside Learn Explore Podcasts & Media Outdoor Destinations Outdoor Activities Home