Tips for getting starstruck in Michigan

A matter of distance_1554426850857

In space, being outshone is an occupational hazard. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures a galaxy named NGC 7250. Despite being remarkable in its own right — it has bright bursts of star formation and recorded supernova explosions — it blends into the background somewhat thanks to the gloriously bright star hogging the limelight […]

Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes, which protects it from light pollution and makes it the perfect destination for some of the best stargazing in the country.

Once you’ve left the city lights behind, it is time to find the right spot to set up for the night. Michigan has six dark sky preserves across the state to provide the perfect stargazing experience.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park was one of the first internationally designated dark sky parks in the world.

Be sure to choose a night with a clear sky forecast because clouds and rain could really put a damper on the night. Although Michigan’s Great Lakes help to darken the sky, their shores are often 10 degrees cooler at night than farther inland which means warm clothes and lots of blankets are a must.

Light from the moon can make it harder to see the stars, so avoid nights where the moon is full. Also avoid creating any other light that will obstruct your view by limiting the use of all your bright electronic devices and flashlights. When you do need a light, use a red light which allows your eyes to stay adjusted to the darkness. A red light will still help you see things like where to walk on a trail or being able to read your star map. You can buy a special red-light device, or simply tape a few layers of red cellophane over your flashlight.

Ursa Major and Minor, known as the Big and Little Dippers are visible all year long in Michigan. Since they are simple and easy to identify, they can help direct you to other constellations as well.

According to an article by Pure Michigan, binoculars can help you focus better than a telescope. Without the proper practice, telescopes can be challenging. Binoculars can give you a better view of the stars plus they are portable which allows you to easily travel with them in hand. Kids can also create their own telescope using common household items, like paper towel rolls, which helps block out extra light and is a fun craft to make before your trip.

However you decide to enjoy the dark skies, you’re sure to be starstruck in Michigan.

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