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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 Monday, August 21 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Dechow farm in the National Lakeshore’s Port Oneida Rural Historic District to experience the Great American Total Eclipse. At the National Lakeshore, the eclipse will start at 12:57 p.m. and end at 3:39 p.m. Maximum solar coverage of 75.26% will occur at 2:19 p.m. 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.
Due to the expected turnout, the location for this event has changed from the Dune Climb to Port Oneida. From the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, take M-22 13 miles north to the Dechow farm across from the Port Oneida Farms Heritage Center on the Charles and Hattie Olsen farm near M-22 and Port Oneida Road. Park rangers and astronomers from the GTAS will host different stations to view the eclipse from telescopes with special lenses, a projection screen, solar glasses, and pin hole viewing cards.
The program will be cancelled if the eclipse 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. You are welcome to bring your own snacks, beach chairs, and blankets for a more comfortable experience, and water is always recommended for National Lakeshore programs. For more information about the GTAS, go to http://www.gtastro.org/.
On August 21, the continental United States will witness the first visible total solar eclipse since 1979. Even though the path of totality will arc across the central states from Oregon to South Carolina, Sleeping Bear Dunes will provide a wonderful place to see a magnificent partial solar eclipse. Safely observe this rare event with park rangers and experienced astronomers.
No matter where you are in Michigan, however, the partial solar eclipse will be visible if weather and cloud conditions are favorable. Please remember to view only with special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, with which you can safely look directly at the sun. Tips to safely view this rare event can be found at: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Safety_508.pdf.
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.