As summer whips by, stay up past your bedtime at least once to look up to the Northern Michigan sky.
An August night sky is not to be missed. In addition to constellations galore to identify, the Perseid meteor shower is in full swing this month (July 23 through August 20, to be exact, with peak activity anticipated August 13) so you’re apt to witness a handful of silver streaks tearing across the sky. This phenomenon is caused by pebble-sized debris left in the wake of comets and meteors burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The result is an astonishing display of shooting stars, boasting a dazzling rate of up to 80 meteors per hour.
For the ultimate experience, opt for evenings that boast 50 percent or less chance of cloud cover or precipitation. Take a headlamp or flashlight with red LEDs to illuminate the way while preserving your night vision. Spread out a blanket or sleeping bag and watch a velvet sky awash in stars and heavenly bodies. Get some great celestial guidance with a quick download of the SkyView app (available in most mobile app stores). Utilizing your phone’s camera and the sky you’re viewing, this augmented-reality application points out constellations and cosmos in real-time to help keep your stars aligned until morning.
WHERE TO see the Perseid meteor shower
Enhance your meteor- and star-spotting odds by seeking out areas devoid of light pollution. This could be the ol’ backyard, a field nearby or a quiet stretch of Lake Michigan lakeshore. Or take a night hike to one of six designated Dark Sky Preserves in Michigan—sites located within state parks that are specifically protected against light pollution.
- Lake Hudson Recreation Area
- Negwegon State Park
- Port Crescent State Park
- Rockport Recreation Area
- Thompson’s Harbor State Park
- Wilderness State Park
In addition, Headlands Dark Sky Park in Emmet County is the only internationally designated Dark Sky Park in the state.
Event: Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower Saturday, August 11 in Cross Village with Mary Stewart Adams. Gather in the open space along Lake Shore Drive where the cross stands, just north of Leg’s Inn, to watch the falling stars. Bring a blanket and chair. Sunset is at 8:55 p.m. so arrive in time to get settled.