Find Your Park After Dark Enjoy this Celestial Centennial at Sleeping Bear Dunes

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Date: June 15, 2016

The sky is the limit at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore). On Saturday, June 18, the National Lakeshore will host a star party celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service (NPS), and 100 years of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Visitors will join park rangers and astronomers at the Dune Climb parking lot to explore the world of stars.

Two events will offer opportunities to focus on the sky. Safe solar viewing will be offered from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and will allow visitors to view the Sun through solar telescopes. In the evening, from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., there will be an opportunity to view the Moon and the evening planets of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. 

During the event, Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) astronomer Bob Moler will be presenting a talk on the topic of “100 Years of General Relativity.” The talk will begin at 9:05 p.m., just after the 9:00 p.m. general welcome, and will last about 15 minutes. Visitors are asked to park in the row furthest from the dunes, with headlights facing M-109.

The event will be cancelled if the stars/Sun are not visible due to bad weather conditions. The decision to cancel will be made two hours in advance of the event; please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision.  

All sky programs offered by the National Lakeshore are free. Participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun. Passes may be purchased at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight for the walk back to their cars, and should bring bug spray if desired. Visitors may also want to bring binoculars, beach chairs, blankets and water.  

This event is the perfect opportunity to “Find Your Park” in the stars. Starry night skies and natural darkness are important components of the special places the NPS protects. National parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness, providing an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource. 

For a listing of future star parties and other programs, check the park’s event calendar at For more information about the GTAS, go to 

As you explore the National Lakeshore, you are encouraged to share your adventures at and on social media using hashtags #FindYourPark and #sleepingbearnps.

For more in-depth information about the National Lakeshore, please go to  Also, check out their Facebook page at and Twitter site at

Last updated: June 16, 2016

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(231) 326-4700

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