Programs & Events

Dark Sky Park Program Coordinator
Call 231.427.1001

Welcome to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park! The grounds, trails, and viewing areas at Headlands are open 24 hours a day, every day. Visitors are welcome to stay out through the night for dark-sky viewing opportunities, but camping is not permitted. Units like tents and campers are not allowed in the park. The Headlands is not intended as an overnight sleeping destination but instead is designed as a place to stay awake and view the stars. You may bring blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, food, beverages, etc. When packing, keep in mind that temperatures are typically 10 degrees lower than expected due to our proximity to the lake shore.

To protect the darkness of the park, please use red-filtered flashlights during your visit to the Headlands. Learn more here.

Our programs take place rain or shine, and no reservations are required unless otherwise noted.

Please save some time during your visit to stop by our “Out of This World” Gift Shop!

The Observatory is limited to park staff and researchers. Visuals when the Observatory is open are projected onto the big screen monitors on the main level. Professional star-gazers and astronomers are available on site to enhance your viewing experience during scheduled observing nights.

While the grounds, trails, viewing areas and restrooms at Headlands are always open and freely accessible, the Waterfront Event Center is only open to the public during scheduled programming and gift shop hours. The Waterfront Event Center at the Headlands is available for private rental.

To stay up-to-date on news and events at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, register for email blasts by contacting scox@emmetcounty.org and be sure to follow our Facebook page for more news and photos.

Aug
12
Mon
Perseids Meteor Shower – Lights Out Challenge @ The Headlands
Aug 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Lights out for the Perseid Meteor Shower!

Once again, Emmet County’s International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands challenges the communities around Northern Michigan to a friendly competition to see who can achieve greatest darkness during the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower!

We’re challenging the local communities in a friendly area-wide competition to see who can get darkest in the 10 to 11 p.m. hour during the Perseid Meteor Shower Monday, August 12, 2019.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority turns off its cable lights; St. Ignace and Mackinaw City turn the lights down low; and visitors, residents, and business owners around the Little Traverse Bay communities of Petoskey and Harbor Springs get a chance to show off their stars by shutting the lights off. Please note that participation is voluntary, so help us get the word out!

The ‘Light’s Out Challenge’ is designed to help raise awareness about the effects of artificial light at night on nocturnal habitat, human health, and the way we use our energy resources.

Before the challenge starts, we will be hosting guest speaker Robert Parrish. Parrish will be onsite to discuss the effects of light pollution on the environment. His presentation will begin at 7 p.m. with time for questions to follow.

Free Observing Night @ The Headlands
Aug 12 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 13 @ 12:00 am

All observing dates are weather-permitting. (Check our Facebook page for the any updates about our observing nights.) The Headlands staff will have some telescopes available on the outside viewing platform if conditions allow. Professional star gazers and astronomers will be on site to enhance your viewing experience with guidance and to answer questions. If you wish, bring your own binoculars or telescopes to see more. Call (231) 427-1001 with any questions.

Aug
13
Tue
Cosmic Tuesday: Dr. Megan Donohue (Perseids Meteor Shower) @ The Headlands
Aug 13 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Join us as we host guest speaker Dr. Megan Donahue for another edition of our Cosmic Tuesday series titled “Supermassive Black Holes and Galaxies at the Edge of Time”.

Dr. Donahue will talk about astronomical observations from telescopes in space and on the Earth have yielded many insights about how the universe works. She will talk about what astronomers have learned about the biggest structures we can study: the galaxies, collections of vast amounts of diffuse gas and up to trillions of stars. Giant Galaxies appear to be ecosystems regulated by their inhabitants, the stars and the “supermassive” black hole lurking in the center (sometimes not so quietly) of every galaxy. Dr. Donahue will talk about why searching for the most distant galaxies is so important to this study, how we use clusters of galaxies to make the Hubble Space Telescope into a “Super” Space Telescope, and what we have learned about these distant systems, whose light has been traveling to us across the universe for over 13 billion years.

$5 a person, $10 parking

Free Observing Night @ The Headlands
Aug 13 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 14 @ 12:00 am

All observing dates are weather-permitting. (Check our Facebook page for the any updates about our observing nights.) The Headlands staff will have some telescopes available on the outside viewing platform if conditions allow. Professional star gazers and astronomers will be on site to enhance your viewing experience with guidance and to answer questions. If you wish, bring your own binoculars or telescopes to see more. Call (231) 427-1001 with any questions.

Aug
15
Thu
Music Under the Stars @ The Headlands
Aug 15 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Join us at the Waterfront Event Center Amphitheater for an evening of music as the sun sets into the lake, featuring live music from the Acoustic Tribute and $10 a person fee

Free Observing Night @ The Headlands
Aug 15 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 16 @ 12:00 am

All observing dates are weather-permitting. (Check our Facebook page for the any updates about our observing nights.) The Headlands staff will have some telescopes available on the outside viewing platform if conditions allow. Professional star gazers and astronomers will be on site to enhance your viewing experience with guidance and to answer questions. If you wish, bring your own binoculars or telescopes to see more. Call (231) 427-1001 with any questions.

Aug
16
Fri
Free Observing Night @ The Headlands
Aug 16 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 17 @ 12:00 am

All observing dates are weather-permitting. (Check our Facebook page for the any updates about our observing nights.) The Headlands staff will have some telescopes available on the outside viewing platform if conditions allow. Professional star gazers and astronomers will be on site to enhance your viewing experience with guidance and to answer questions. If you wish, bring your own binoculars or telescopes to see more. Call (231) 427-1001 with any questions.

Aug
17
Sat
Free Observing Night @ The Headlands
Aug 17 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 18 @ 12:00 am

All observing dates are weather-permitting. (Check our Facebook page for the any updates about our observing nights.) The Headlands staff will have some telescopes available on the outside viewing platform if conditions allow. Professional star gazers and astronomers will be on site to enhance your viewing experience with guidance and to answer questions. If you wish, bring your own binoculars or telescopes to see more. Call (231) 427-1001 with any questions.

Aug
23
Fri
Free Observing Night @ The Headlands
Aug 23 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 24 @ 12:00 am

All observing dates are weather-permitting. (Check our Facebook page for the any updates about our observing nights.) The Headlands staff will have some telescopes available on the outside viewing platform if conditions allow. Professional star gazers and astronomers will be on site to enhance your viewing experience with guidance and to answer questions. If you wish, bring your own binoculars or telescopes to see more. Call (231) 427-1001 with any questions.

Aug
24
Sat
Free Observing Night @ The Headlands
Aug 24 @ 10:00 pm – Aug 25 @ 12:00 am

All observing dates are weather-permitting. (Check our Facebook page for the any updates about our observing nights.) The Headlands staff will have some telescopes available on the outside viewing platform if conditions allow. Professional star gazers and astronomers will be on site to enhance your viewing experience with guidance and to answer questions. If you wish, bring your own binoculars or telescopes to see more. Call (231) 427-1001 with any questions.