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The sky is the limit at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore). Join park rangers and astronomers from the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) on Saturday, June 24 at the Dune Climb parking lot. On this date, two events offer you opportunities to focus on the sky. The first event is from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and will allow visitors to safely view our closest star, the Sun, using a solar telescope. The second event will be from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and is a great chance to view distant galaxies and star clusters, as well as the evening planets of Jupiter and Saturn. Please park in the row furthest from the dunes with your headlights facing M-109.
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. Programs will be cancelled if the sky is not visible due to weather conditions. The decision to cancel is usually made two hours in advance. Please call 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision. For all evening astronomy events, bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car and bug spray, if needed. You are welcome to bring your own binoculars, beach chairs, and blankets for a more comfortable experience, and water is always recommended for National Park Service (NPS) programs. Park rangers and GTAS staff will wear red glow necklaces or bracelets at the events. For more information about the GTAS, go to http://www.gtastro.org/.
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 and provide an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource.
As you find your way through the clear skies of the National Lakeshore, you are encouraged to share your adventures at FindYourPark.com and on social media using hashtags #FindYourPark and #sleepingbearnps.