Stargazing at Cherry Spring State Park

The nearest milky way is just around the corner of Rochester, 125 miles stretch south towards Potter County, Pennsylvania.

Amidst the Pandemic in 2020, My friends & I decided to find a place for a trip that will be safe with following the COVID-19 protocols. We came across Cherry Spring State Park which is 2 hr 25 min drive from RIT. We decided to check the weather app and selected a clear sky night.

At Cherry Spring State Park, you can witness Millions of Stars so close to you, it would feel like you can touch them. I had never seen so many stars in one place. Believe it or not, I was one of those who always missed shooting stars. I would get to know a shooting star just passed by when my friends saw it and I was still looking for it! Where? Where? At Cherry Spring State Park, the answer is going to be everywhere. I ever saw shooting stars nearly in every sec.

The best time to visit is Spring, Summer & Fall. Starts from April to shivering cold in the late Fall. We went in Sept. The clear sky and extended nights are a few of the ideal conditions of Stargazing. From my experience it’s best if you reach there before the moon rises. In the pitch-black you can glimpse:

  • The Milky Way
  • Constellations
  • Meteor Showers
  • Venus
  • The Northern Lights. And many more.

It is a long journey in between mountains. The Internet signal might be disturbing, so advisable to save an offline map on your device. As you’re climbing the mountains, look out for the animal’s sign. Especially, deer are always eager to cross the road when the vehicle is around.

Things you can carry along are:

  • Warm Clothes along with Camping gear/ chairs. So that you can comfortably watch stars.
  • Binoculars for stargazing if you have any.
  • And Important to have some Food/ Snacks with you.

My Quick tips:

To make this experience mesmerizing, I didn’t look up, outside the window as you approach closer to your destination. When you reach, you are at a huge open ground parking [free of charge], that’s where at least we went. Now, you get out of the car and look up. I got the chills to see this overwhelming and breathtaking view.

The phone camera couldn’t do justice in capturing the stars, so advisable to carry along a camera for astrophotography/ night photography. I used an app on my phone called StarTracker, to guide me with the names of the stars, location of planets, direction. I went in Sept so before the moon rises you witness the stars, and then when the moon shines you could see the moon so close to you.

It is a wonderful experience to be out in the open below several stars taking a small break from everything and feel connected to Mother Nature. 

About the author

Graduate Student
Engineering Management

Welcome RIT Tigers, I'm Shreeya from India. I’ve studied in the Engineering Management ME program at RIT since Fall 2019.

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