Even on a clear night, stargazing can be a challenge in southeast Michigan. The glow from city lights tends to dim all but the brightest celestial objects. Only a few places in the world offer skies dark enough to see the universe in all its grandeur. One such place is the Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinaw City, Michigan. Director Mary Stewart Adams says there’s something magical about seeing the cosmos without the distraction of light-emitting buildings and gadgets.
“Something starts to happen in our own thinking and imagination when we expose ourselves to dark or darkening environments that I think can kind of be an antidote to having to be plugged in all the time,” Adams says.
The Headlands is in the process of building a new observatory that will feature a telescope for viewing objects in deep space. The park also hosts astronomy events throughout the year. On Friday, April 7, amateur astronomers will gather at the Headlands for Statewide Astronomy Night in Michigan. Adams says it’s an opportunity for anyone interested in the heavens to learn about the science of the stars. She says it does not have to be an expensive hobby. Instead of buying a fancy telescope, she recommends starting with a good pair of binoculars, or contacting a local astronomy club.
“I’ve never met a more enthusiastic group of people than amateur astronomers, because they love to share information about their technology,” Adams says.
A number of astronomy clubs in southeast Michigan offer Statewide Astronomy Night viewing events. Click the links below for more information.