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Visitors can enjoy three special sky experiences at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) during October. Join park rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) for guided explorations of the night sky, morning and evening. All programs are free. Participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun. Kids of all ages can participate in the Night Sky Junior Ranger Program.
On Wednesday, October 8, 5:00 - 8:00 a.m., view a total lunar eclipse at Platte River Point. This is a great location to view the total lunar eclipse as well as watch the moon setting. Please note the early morning viewing time of the eclipse. The next sky event will be on Tuesday, October 21, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m., at Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Overlook #3. This starry event is in celebration of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s 44th anniversary. Please park at Picnic Mountain; the next right after Overlook #2. Then on Thursday, October 23, 5:15 - 6:45 p.m., view a partial solar eclipse until sunset at Platte River Point.
These events will be cancelled if the sky is not visible due to weather conditions. The decision to cancel is usually made either three hours in advance or by 4:30 p.m. the day prior to the event. Please call park rangers at 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for a voicemail message with the decision. For the early morning and late evening astronomy events, bring a flashlight for the walk to and from the event. Park rangers and GTAS staff will wear red glow bracelets at the events. For more information about the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society, go to http://www.gtastro.org/.
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 and provide an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource. So visit the National Lakeshore and enjoy park skies by attending one of these sky events.