A series of monthly astronomy parties at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan kicks off Friday when rangers and members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society head out after dark into the lakeshore.
The first gathering is scheduled for Friday evening in conjunction with National Park Week. Each special event will take place at a different location throughout the national lakeshore to take advantage of strategic viewing opportunities.
The GTAS provides volunteers who share their telescopes and vast knowledge. Their passion is evident when they line up a star or planet in the eyepiece of their telescopes for you to see as they guide you through a night sky journey.
Here's the schedule of events for the coming months:
April 27 - Picture Yourself Under the Stars, Friday 8:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
Celebrate National Park Week with an evening under the stars. Watch the sunset at 8:44 p.m. over Lake Michigan and view the night sky through telescopes. Meet at Platte Point Beach at the end of Lake Michigan Road in Benzie County.
May 20 - Partial Solar Eclipse, Sunday, 8 p.m.-10 p.m.
See the eclipse from 8:21 p.m. until sunset at 9:04 p.m. Then view Venus, Mars and Saturn after the eclipse. Solar shades will be provided at the event. Meet at Lake Michigan Overlook #9, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
June 2 - Almost Full Moon Party Saturday, 9 p.m.-11 p.m.
Observe the nearly full moon as well as Venus, Mars, and Saturn from the Dune Overlook #3, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Please park at Picnic Mountain, the next right after the #2 stop.