On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will stretch across the United States, turning day into night for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. This will be the first total solar eclipse to be seen only in the United States since 1776 and the first one to stretch from coast to coast in 99 years.
While most people in North America will experience a partial eclipse, a narrow 70-mile wide “path of totality” will cross from Oregon to South Carolina. In the mountains surrounding Brevard, NC, and within the “path of totality”, is the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), a former NASA site turned research and educational center. In celebration of the eclipse, PARI will host astronomers from all over the world, several teams of NASA scientists, as well as, astronomy enthusiasts from across the country.
Also based in Brevard is SylvanSport, maker of the innovative GO camper. Holding its first GO owner gathering (Camp Dark Sky), in conjunction with the total solar eclipse, SylvanSport will bring together science, education and outdoor recreation to the PARI campus.
The PARI site was instrumental in pioneering the early days of NASA and became the nation’s primary East Coast satellite tracking facility. As satellite communication evolved, the site was transferred to the Department of Defense (DOD), transforming into a top-secret data collection center during the height of the Cold War. After the departure of the DOD, the site was converted into a non-profit education and research center, what is now known as PARI.
Sharing the boundaries of Transylvania County with PARI, SylvanSport is headquartered in Brevard, NC, where they design and manufacture ultra-lightweight, versatile outdoor recreation vehicles. Founded in 2004, SylvanSport has long wanted to hold its first owner’s gathering and the total solar eclipse was the perfect catalyst to make it happen.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have this once in a lifetime, astronomical event happening right here in our backyard,” say Tom Dempsey, President of SylvanSport. “PARI is such a fascinating piece of modern history and it’s incredibly special to be able to share the total solar eclipse with our GO owners there.”
Camp Dark Sky: The Annual Gathering of the GOs will have hundreds of SylvanSport GO owners, friends and family members camping all weekend at the beautiful REEB Ranch and head to PARI for the total solar eclipse. Proceeds from Camp Dark Sky will go directly to PARI in support of their educational programs, maintaining their scientific instruments, infrastructure and operational expenses.