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Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) and members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS). The next Celestial Centennial Summer event, Mercury Transit, held on Monday, May 9, 7:15 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., at the Dune Climb parking lot, will give visitors a chance to witness the 2016 event. A transit occurs when one of the inner planets passes directly between the Sun and Earth, appearing as a black dot traveling across the face of the Sun. The last Mercury Transit occurred in 2006, and the one after this occurrence will be in 2019, with a big jump to the transit after that in 2032. Take the opportunity to witness this rare event with Park Rangers and GTAS members. Specialized solar telescopes and solar glasses will be on hand for visitors to observe the transit safely. The usual cancellation policy will not be in effect due to the length of the transit (6½ hours). Feel free to stop by at any time while the transit is underway. Please call park rangers at 231-326-4700, ext. 5005, for further information.
All 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. Water is always recommended for NPS programs. Park Rangers and GTAS staff will be on hand to assist the visitors with any questions or assistance. For more information about the GTAS, please go to http://www.gtastro.org/.
The Celestial Centennial Summer events will vary in location throughout the National Lakeshore in order to take advantage of strategic viewing opportunities and to offer the very best experience to the visitors. There will be prospects for star-gazing, eclipses, meteor showers, solar viewing, storytelling, and more. Starry night skies and natural darkness are important components of the special places the NPS protects. National parks enclose some of the last remaining harbors of darkness in America, and provide an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource firsthand.