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Night at the Headlands

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#1 pjmulka

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:42 AM

I spent last night at the Headlands dark sky park in Mackinac city, Michigan. I brought my 6” dob for an awesome night under the stars. The seeing was very good the observatory had an 11” Celestion Cass and a 4” refractor with an EAA cmos camera out on the observation deck for outreach and an amateur astronomer on hand to answer questions. The viewing was incredible and after the moon set it was very dark. Much darker than my last trip. Apparently the county installed some kind of light shielding treatments throughout Mackinac city and it worked as I was struck by how much darker it was compared to my previous trips.
They really do a good job! 24 hour bathrooms. The observatory brings out telescopes for outreach every clear night. There is a large observation deck to set up your telescope(s) and lots of Terrace seating. There’s a gift shop and vending machines. Located on the gorgeous shores of Lake Michigan. You your ever in the area I highly recommend checking it out!
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#2 Stellar1

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 02:15 AM

Great to hear you had an amazing time! Three years ago my wife and I made the 6hr trek out to Mackinaw City/Mackinac island, the highlight of the whole trip to say the least was Headlands. What a place! we stayed in Mackinaw city just a few miles from Headlands. Each night we drove to headlands where the resident astronomer gave night sky tours and put scopes out for guests, I have to tip my hat to the state of Michigan, a beautiful place they’ve created with Headlands. In that gift shop I picked up a Headlands hoodie which is like a prized possession to me now lol. 


Edited by Stellar1, 06 August 2022 - 02:17 AM.

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#3 Voyageur

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:23 PM

Appreciate the information about lighting control, thank you. I think I need to make a trip.



#4 Cpk133

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 08:23 PM

Great to hear you had an amazing time! Three years ago my wife and I made the 6hr trek out to Mackinaw City/Mackinac island, the highlight of the whole trip to say the least was Headlands. What a place! we stayed in Mackinaw city just a few miles from Headlands. Each night we drove to headlands where the resident astronomer gave night sky tours and put scopes out for guests, I have to tip my hat to the state of Michigan, a beautiful place they’ve created with Headlands. In that gift shop I picked up a Headlands hoodie which is like a prized possession to me now lol. 

Emmet County, they paid for it along with funds raised by a non profit.  I think they could have saved a lot of money with a roll off roof and modest building.  Whoever designed that place forgot to make the observatory handicap accessable so they roll out telescopes for public viewing.  They have a nice planewave CDK and Tak TOA 150 that's sadly not open to the public.  


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#5 weis14

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 10:19 PM

I haven't been there since 2018 and back then I thought that while the facility was nice, it was too crowded and too light polluted to be worth the longer drive compared to my other available dark sites.  Based on the posts above, I might need to try it again.  I still follow it on social media and it looks like it has definitely benefited from more traffic as more people have become interested in stargazing in the last few years.



#6 Cpk133

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Posted 07 August 2022 - 02:13 PM

I haven't been there since 2018 and back then I thought that while the facility was nice, it was too crowded and too light polluted to be worth the longer drive compared to my other available dark sites.  Based on the posts above, I might need to try it again.  I still follow it on social media and it looks like it has definitely benefited from more traffic as more people have become interested in stargazing in the last few years.

 

Just go when school is back in session and weekday is preferrable.  Its been a few years since ive been there and i was swamped with clueless people that thoought i worked for the park.  Compared to our clubs open house nights, it was chaotic.  The location is plenty dark but they had an issue with the parking lot being within eyeshot of the upper observing pads.  Otherwise, its an amazing facility.  A promoted high traffic dark sky preserve isn't the best place for serious amateurs.


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#7 Chucky

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Posted 07 August 2022 - 07:28 PM

I attended the special opening day event. It's a gorgeous setting.
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#8 pjmulka

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Posted 08 August 2022 - 05:31 PM

They have been know to show ATM’ers around the Observatory. I’ve managed to get more then one private tour after Astro geeking out with the staff Astronomers. :)

Emmet County, they paid for it along with funds raised by a non profit. I think they could have saved a lot of money with a roll off roof and modest building. Whoever designed that place forgot to make the observatory handicap accessable so they roll out telescopes for public viewing. They have a nice planewave CDK and Tak TOA 150 that's sadly not open to the public.



#9 Cpk133

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Posted 08 August 2022 - 08:48 PM

They have been know to show ATM’ers around the Observatory. I’ve managed to get more then one private tour after Astro geeking out with the staff Astronomers. smile.gif
 

yes, I've seen it and it wasn't getting much light when I was there, hopefully that's changed.



#10 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 08 August 2022 - 09:51 PM

Your post led me to look up the Headlands International Dark Sky Park website, pjmulka.

 

https://www.midarkskypark.org/


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