07/12/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2019 04:15
Reach for the stars at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore). Join park rangers and astronomers from the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) on Saturday, July 6 at the Dune Climb parking lot. On this date, two events offer you opportunities to focus on the sky. The first event is from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and will allow visitors to safely view our closest star, the sun, using a solar telescope. The second event will be from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Feel free to hike up the dunes at the Dune Climb during the event, watch a sunset at 9:33 p.m., and rejoin the rangers and astronomers in the parking lot at the base of the dunes. The waxing crescent moon will offer a great chance to view distant celestial objects as well as the evening planet of Jupiter and later Saturn.
The information and telescope stations will be available for you to visit at your leisure. Be sure to stop by the ranger greeter table for more information about the stations and their locations.
The dark sky in the park provides an excellent opportunity to observe deep space objects. Don't miss climbing up the dunes during this event to conduct your own personal skywalk.
At the Dune Climb, please park in the row furthest from the dunes with your headlights facing M-109. Overflow parking, within easy walking distance to the Dune Climb, is in the Great Lakes Picnic Area. The picnic area entrance is located just south of the entrance to the Dune Climb. Follow the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail from the parking area to the Dune Climb. Volunteers will be assisting with parking at both locations.
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. Programs will be cancelled if the sky 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.
For all evening astronomy events, bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car and bug spray, if needed. You are welcome to bring your own binoculars, beach chairs, and blankets for a more comfortable experience, and water is always recommended for National Park Service (NPS) programs. Park rangers and GTAS staff will wear red glow necklaces or bracelets at the events. For more information about the GTAS, go to http://www.gtastro.org/.