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Join park rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) for a series of monthly astronomy events at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) starting on April 27 in celebration of National Park Week. Each special event takes place at a different locations throughout the National Lakeshore to take advantage of strategic viewing opportunities. Come for the partial solar eclipse, star gazing, meteor showers and storytelling.
The National Park Service (NPS), at parks such as the National Lakeshore, protect our daytime enjoyment of beautiful landscapes as well as protect our enjoyment of the sky above at night. Through pristine views of a starry sky at night, we learn about where our planet has come from and where it is going. A night in the national parks is an opportunity to sleep under the stars and see the sky the way every generation of human beings once did. Astronomy in the parks doesn't end when the sun comes up. The national parks are also a window to the other worlds of our solar system. A hike through the active dunes is to experience the sands of Mars and the Lake Michigan ice volcanoes in the middle of winter are like a hike on a moon of Saturn. In the National Lakeshore, come for the landscape, stay for the universe!
The NPS embraces night skies as one of the many scenic vistas of which the agency is a steward. This is essential to keeping a park whole and touches on almost every aspect that is important-from sustainability to stargazing, and wildlife to geologic history.
In partnership with the GTAS, the National Lakeshore is excited to offer these special astronomy programs. The GTAS provides volunteers who share their telescopes and vast knowledge. Their passion is evident when they line up a star or planet in the eyepiece of their telescopes for you to see as they guide you through a night sky journey.
April 27 - Picture Yourself Under the Stars, Friday 8:30-11:00 p.m.
Celebrate National Park Week with an evening under the stars. Watch the sunset at 8:44 p.m. over Lake Michigan and view the night sky through telescopes. Meet at Platte Point Beach at the end of Lake Michigan Road in Benzie County.
May 20 - Partial Solar Eclipse, Sunday, 8:00-10:00 p.m.
See the eclipse from 8:21 p.m. until sunset at 9:04 p.m. Then view Venus, Mars and Saturn after the eclipse. Solar shades will be provided at the event. Meet at Lake Michigan Overlook #9, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
June 2 - Almost Full Moon Party Saturday, 9:00-11:00 p.m.
Observe the nearly full moon as well as Venus, Mars, and Saturn from the Dune Overlook #3, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Please park at Picnic Mountain, the next right after the #2 stop.