860-acre Michigan park receives international honor


This illustration provided by Harvard shows data from the “Radcliffe Wave,” indicated in red, superimposed on an artist’s rendering of Milky Way galaxy. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, scientists reported that this massive structure of star-forming gases was discovered in the galaxy’s spiral arm closest to Earth. (Alyssa Goodman/WorldWide Telescope via AP)

CASS COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – A county park in southwestern Michigan was honored with an international distinction.

Dr. T.K. Lawless Park in Cass County was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association, according to reports by our media partner at MLive.

The 860-acre park is nine miles east of Cassopoli and only the second park in Michigan to get the honor.

Now that the designation has been announced, Cass County Parks is figuring out the best ways to encourage the public to enjoy late night star viewing.

An official celebration of the International Dark-Sky designation is scheduled to coincide with the Michiana Astronomical Society’s annual “Star Party” at the park, scheduled for April 24-26.

Scientists believe one-third of humanity cannot view the Milky Way, which includes 80% of Americans and 60% of Europeans because of light pollution, according to a study published in the journal of Science Advances.

Light pollution impacts everything from migratory birds to baby sea turtles and even human sleeping patterns.

In 2011, the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City became the first such park in the state, and one of the first 10 international dark sky parks in the world.

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