on the cover
In summer 2013, Emmet County IT Director Gary Appold captured
this photo of the Milky Way above the
Headlands International Dark Sky Park. Using a time lapse
setting, he was able to capture satellites and meteors moving
through the frame, at one of the most beautiful places in the
U.S. to view the night sky - Emmet County, Michigan!
The HeadlandsINTERNATIONAL DARK SKY PARK
Emmet County, Michigan
2014 program schedule insideHeads up!
Navigating to the HeadlandsThe Headlands is located 2 miles west
downtown Mackinaw City, Emmet County, in Northwest Lower
What is a Dark Sky Park?It is a park or other protected
land possessing exceptional starry skies and natural nocturnal
habitat where light pollution is mitigated and natural darkness is
valuable as an important educational, cultural, scientific and
natu-ral resource. The designation is made by the International
Dark-Sky Association in Tucson, Ariz. (www.darksky.org)
How many such parks are there?Twelve total, and nine in the
U.S.: THE HEADLANDS,
Emmet County, Mich.; Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah;
Cherry Springs State Park, Penn.; Geauga Park District’s
Observatory Park, Ohio; Clayton Lake State Park and Chaco Culture
National Park, New Mexico; Big Bend National Park, Texas; Death
Valley National Park, Calif.; Goldendale Observatory Park, Wash.
There are two in Hungary and one in Scotland.
What will I find at Headlands?• 600 acres of pristine,
old-growth forest• 4 1/2 miles of trails (year ‘round, nonmotorized
use)• A self-guided cell phone tour detailing points of interest• 2
1/2 miles of frontage on Lake Michigan, where an estimated 80+
shipwrecks lie• One overnight residence for rent, accommodating
20+• Spectacular starry skies!
What can I see overhead at the park?The Headlands is located
north of the 45th parallel, which
means it is closer to the North Pole than the equator, affording
exceptional views of the five North ‘circumpolar’ constellations
(those which never set from the northern sky viewer’s latitude)
including Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cassiopeia and Cepheus.
The Milky Way, major meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses and
comets are all visible from the Headlands.The Aurora Borealis
(Northern Lights) are also visible in
Northern Michigan, though difficult to predict. They seem to be
more prevalent at the times of Equinox (late March and September).
Contemporary scientists believe they are caused by electromagnetic
storms on the Sun. Go to www.spaceweather.com, NASA’s web site, for
updates.Register for Emmet County's twice-monthly email blasts
about what's happening in the night sky by
emailing [email protected]
About the Dark Sky ParkProgram Director
Mary Stewart Adams is a star lore historian, storyteller and
author who has been immersed in the history of star knowledge for
30 years. For the past several years Mary served as the leader of
the initiative that achieved Interna-tional Dark Sky Park
designation for the Headlands, and now serves as its Program
Director. She writes and speaks extensively to local, national and
international audiences on our relationship to the night sky and
its cultural con-sequences. Join Mary under the stars to celebrate
the fundamental human happiness that results from learning the
history, the art, the science and the poetry of the stars.
Mary makes her home with her four children under the starry
skies of Harbor Springs, Mich. She can be reached at (231)
838-8181, or email [email protected]
Programs at the Headlands are always free and take place rain,
snow or shine! Please note that it’s typically
at least 10 degrees cooler along the Lake Michigan shoreline
than inland, so dress appropriately.
7725 E. Wilderness Park Dr.Mackinaw City, MI 49701
General, program info: (231) 348-1704 Guest House reservations:
The Headlands is one of just 12 International Dark Sky Parks in
To Petoskeyon U.S. 31 ↓
2014 Dark Sky Park eventsEvents take place rain or shine.
Additional programs added throughout the year online:
www.emmetcounty.org* Programs take place at the designated Dark Sky
Viewing Area unless otherwise noted. Follow the signs through the
SATURDAY, JAN. 4 BEYOND THE TELESCOPE ~ THE STORYTELLER’S GUIDE
TO THE NIGHT SKY Join us under snow and stars as we celebrate the
season of storytelling and highlights of the coming year. Program
will include guest storytellers, as well as great views of Venus
and the Crescent Moon. 5-7 p.m. Guest House
SATURDAY, FEB. 8 ● FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON, PART I Because of a
quirk in the calendar, there will be no New Moon in February 2014 ~
so what better time than this to gather and learn about the latest
in lunar science and discovery, including current missions,
contemporary theories regarding Moon’s origin, and telescopic views
of our nearest companion. 6-8 p.m. Guest House
SATURDAY, MARCH 1 THE TECH LOVER’S GUIDE TO THE NIGHT SKY From
telescopes to starwalk apps, laser pointers to sun filters, there’s
a lot of technology out there to keep us informed (and confused!).
We’re gathering the experts to answer everything from the most
basic to the most advanced questions. 6-8 p.m. Guest House
TUESDAY, APRIL 15 ● FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON, PART II This year’s
Total Eclipse of the Full Moon will be visible overnight from
Monday to Tuesday at the Headlands, and our field trip tonight will
include the stories of the ages regarding eclipses, with rare and
wonderful views through binoculars and telescopes. Ideal for
photography! 12:30 a.m. - 4 a.m. (yes, you read that time
correctly!) Guest House
TUESDAY, APRIL 22 ☼ OUTDOOR LIGHTING FORUM ANNUAL LUNCHEON At
this year’s luncheon, we will celebrate the successes of those
businesses and individuals who are protecting the dark! Special
guest speaker and a great meal. The public is invited for the price
of your own lunch. 11:30 a.m. City Park Grill restaurant, Petoskey
SATURDAY, MAY 10 GREAT LAKES, DARK SKIES In order to fully
celebrate our 3rd anniversary as Michigan’s only International Dark
Sky Park, we are inviting a host of astronomy clubs from around the
state to join us for an evening of astronomy. Perfect for night-sky
enthusiasts of all ages . Starting at 8:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, JUNE 21 A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DARK SKY PARK We’ll
dedicate this longest day of the year to understanding that it
means to be a Dark Sky Park. Program will include highlights of
summer season, bonfire, storytelling, telescopes and more.
FRIDAY, JUNE 27 ● NEW MOON STARGAZE PICNICNew Moon can be the
darkest time of the month. With tonight's first New Moon of the
summer, we’ll gather to take advantage of the dark with stories of
the visible constel-lations. This program is timed to coincide with
the Boötid Meteor Shower. 8:30-10:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, JULY 26 ● NEW MOON STARGAZE PICNICJuly is the month of
the Thunder Moon, and as Jupiter nears the end of its sojourn in
our evening skies, we will gather for mythological tales of the
"Thunderer," and enjoy telescopic views of the largest planet.
TUESDAY, JULY 29 LIGHTS OUT ACROSS THE STRAITS & THE BAY The
Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower will be on display this
night, and the communities of St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, as
well as Harbor Springs and Petoskey, are taking the pledge to turn
off the lights in a friendly competition to achieve greater
darkness! Details www.emmetcounty.org
MONDAY, AUG. 25 ● NEW MOON STARGAZE PICNICSummer is not complete
without an evening relaxing on a blanket beneath the stars.
Stargazer's bonus: The richest part of the Milky Way arcs overhead
in August! 8:30-10:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 6 ● HARVEST MOON DANCE WITH LIVE MUSIC!The
rhythmic rising and setting of sun and moon and stars throughout
the season draws forth an abundant harvest from the Earth, and a
desire to dance in the rest of us! 7:30-9:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 20 WANING MOON STARGAZE AND AURORA TALKThere is
evidence that the aurora are more frequent at the time of Equinox
each year. Join us with aurora experts and photographers to
celebrate this most popular of celestial events (please note this
does not intend to imply that the Northern Lights will be visible
on this evening). 7-9 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCT. 17 THE HERO'S METEOR SHOWEROrion was a great hunter
to the Ancient Greeks; Osiris to the Ancient Egyptians; and in the
world of fairy tale, he is the giant Jack encounters once he trades
his cow for a handful of beans. 8-10 p.m. Guest House
SATURDAY, OCT. 25 SIXTH ANNUAL HEADLANDS CHALLENGE Each year we
park our cars, turn off the lights and head off into the dark to
meet "Destiny" during the Headlands Challenge and Triple Fright
Night. Walk the one-mile, dimly-lighted path through this
old-growth forest. Also participating are McGulpin Point Lighthouse
and Mackinaw's Heritage Village. 8-10 p.m. Guest House
SATURDAY, NOV. 15 THE LION'S ROAR ~ METEOR SHOWERS AND
MOREMeteor Showers take their name from the constellation in front
of which the radiant (or center point) appears, and are caused by
Earth passing through the trail of comets that speed through our
system. Tonight we will consider the parent comets of our most
popular showers. 8-10 p.m. Guest House
SATURDAY, NOV. 22 THANKSGIVING NEW MOON STARGAZETonight we will
explore the winter constellations, hear their tales, and make ready
for the best stargazing tips and gear for the end of the year. Time
TBA, Guest House
SATURDAY, DEC. 20 THE METEOR SHOWER OF THE GREAT BEARSThe Ursid
Meteor Shower peaks overhead and the constel-lation Perseus comes
to its highest place in its nighttime trek while cultures around
the world celebrate the stand-ing still of the Sun with its
mysteries. Tonight we will count shooting stars as we consider
seasonal traditions and how they are rooted in the stars overhead.
Time TBA, Guest House
Heads Up!What you need to know about the park
The Headlands is open 24 hours a day, every day, at no charge.
Visitors are welcomed to stay out through the night for dark-sky
viewing opportunities (camping units are not permitted). You may
bring blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, food, beverages, etc. Plan
accordingly and dress for temperatures 10 degrees below what you
expect. The park is on the shore of Lake Michigan and is always
cooler than inland.Public Dark Sky Park programs take place about 1
the entrance at the Dark Sky Viewing Area (unless otherwise
noted). Programs are intended for naked-eye observation; however,
feel free to bring binoculars or telescopes if you prefer. If you
are heading to the Headlands on a non-program outing, look for the
signs for Dark Sky Viewing; there is a designated trail and viewing
area along the lakeshore. Please utilize red-filter flashlights
2014 note: Construction of restrooms and a new facility will be
taking place at least through the end of summer.