Excitement is building as Earth rolls toward the thickest part of Summer’s fairest Meteor Shower the Perseids next week, and at Headlands, we’re gearing up for another spectacular evening! If you’ve been following our social media, then you know we are under construction on a wonderful new event center and observatory, and you also know that this means parking is confined to the Headlands entrance for all events, so here’s what we’re planning for the Perseids:
- Our formal program for the Perseids will take place Friday, August 12 at 9 pm under the festival tent near the Headlands entrance. This means you get to park your car and stay close to where the action is! The program will include the history, science, mythology, and story connected to the Perseid Meteor Shower. Note that sunset on August 12 is at 8:53 pm, and astronomical twilight (the time it takes for skies to get truly dark) extends until 10:52 pm ~ so basically from 9 to 10 pm it will still be light out, and we will do our program during this time. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS YEAR THE MOON IS A FACTOR IN HOW DRAMATIC THE PERSEIDS WILL BE: The waxing gibbous will Moon rise in the east at 4:15 pm, so we will have Luna to contend with all night long.
- Starting at 10 pm, community members and businesses that have chosen to participate in our Lights Out Challenge will turn off their lights for an hour, and we will conduct our sky quality measurements to see which of the competing communities gets darkest. The Mackinac Bridge lights will be turned off during the competition, to add to the mystery of the night! Note that the participating communities are St. Ignace to the north of the Straits competing with Mackinaw City to the south, and Petoskey on the south side of Little Traverse Bay competing with Harbor Springs to the north. We wish good luck and starshine to everyone who participates!
- Following our program, guests to Headlands can choose one of three viewing places for the meteor shower, each of which will be staffed with folks that can answer questions and guide you through the night:
– The Heritage Village Field, where we have hoisted our festival tent near the parking area. Facilities include porta potty. There is no walking required to view from this area. The thickest part of the Milky Way is obstructed by the treeline to the southwest, but the view to northeast where the constellation Perseus rises is in full view. You do not need to look at Perseus to see the shower because the meteors can fall anywhere through the sky (and that’s the beauty of it!).
– Headlands shoreline viewing area, which is accessed by one mile walk from parking area to shoreline. The route is mostly paved and then becomes flat gravel before you arrive at the 1/4 mile of rugged Lake Michigan shoreline for viewing. From here you can see the thickest part of the Milky Way to the southwest, and views to the east are buffered by the forest. Facilities include a porta potty and this is a no white light zone, meaning red filter flashlights only.
– The Headlands Guest House, accessible by the same one mile walk you follow to get to the shoreline area, with a left turn toward the house when you get to the shore. Views are north, west, and south, with the view to the north and east buffered by trees. Facilities include indoor restrooms. This building will close to the public at midnight and it is also in our no white light zone, so red filter flashlights only though the Moon will provide plenty of natural light for those who are comfortable with it!
Bring snacks and something comfortable to sit on. Be tidy. Be polite. Bring all of your wishes!
If you have questions about any or all of this, please call us at 231-348-1713 and keep checking back here for more information, and share your photos. Protecting the night sky takes all of us, and we love to celebrate it with everyone who comes out to join us!