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Celebrate the National Lakeshore’s 46th birthday with the final Star Party of the 2016 Celestial Centennial Summer. This will be a great occasion to observe the night sky, Mars, star clusters, nebulae, and distant galaxies with park rangers and local astronomers from the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS). The Star Party will be held on Friday, October 21, from 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m., and will be located along Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at stop #3, with parking at Picnic Mountain, the first right after stop #2.
During the event, GTAS astronomer Bob Moler will be presenting a talk on the topic of “100 years of the expanding universe.” The talk will begin at 8:05 p.m., just after the 8:00 p.m. welcome, and will last about 15-20 minutes. The event will be cancelled if the stars are not visible due to cloudy 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 and cost $15 per vehicle for seven days.
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 National Park Service protects. National parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness, providing an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource.
Check the park’s events calendar for a listing of future Star Parties and other programs. For more information about the GTAS, go to http://www.gtastro.org/.