Imagine a place where the night sky becomes a window to the wonders of space. A place where viewing stars, galaxies, and light from afar abounds. Would you like to visit this place?
Photos courtesy of Business Soil
If the mysteries of the night sky excite you or you enjoy the natural beauty of that which is above us, Huron County offers a place for you to visit. Coined “Dark Skies,” these places are part of an initiative to preserve the night sky by reducing and eliminating light pollution in dedicated locations throughout the world. As artificial light drowns out the natural light of the night sky it distracts from our ability to see and study the wonders of the night sky. The Dark Skies initiative serves to promote astronomy as well as benefit night recreation.
There are many types of Dark Sky places around the world. There are Dark Sky parks, reserves, communities, sanctuaries and developments of distinction. Each type differs by its level of commitment to preserving and promoting natural light. You can read more about each type of dark sky place on the International Dark-Sky Association’s website. Luckily, Michigan is home to a small handful of dark sky places, one of which you can find right here in Huron County!
Due to a mostly rural landscape that is surrounded by water on three sides, the Thumb is one of the best places in Michigan to view the magnificent night sky. In fact, Port Crescent State Park, located near the northern tip of the Thumb along the shores of Lake Huron, is recognized for promoting the Dark Skies initiative. The Thumb dark sky preserve is located anywhere within Port Crescent State Park, but a common place for astronomers and night sky enthusiasts to set up for viewing is next to the beach. Parking in lot C will bring you closest to this area. It is recommended that you turn your lights off and use your vehicle’s parking lights so as not to disrupt other dark sky viewers. Most visitors choose to set up a telescope right in the lot. The Port Crescent State Park Dark Sky preserve has been noted as an excellent place to view the northern lights as well as constellations, meteor showers and beyond.
The next time you’re in Huron County without any nighttime plans why not experience the beauty and wonder of the night sky like never before at the Dark Sky preserve at Port Crescent State Park? When you’re ready to plan your trip, you can view the expected weather conditions for the next two days by checking out the clear sky chart for Port Crescent State Park. You can find more information and resources about the Dark Sky in Huron County and other fun stuff below. Happy star-gazing!
A Recreation Passport is required to enter Port Crescent State Park. Here’s how to get your recreation passport for Michigan State Parks.
- Meteors & S'mores TBA
This event is to take place sometime in August during the Perseids Meteor Shower. Contact the Port Crescent State Park office at (989) 738-8663 to learn more about this event or other events taking place at the Dark Sky Preserve.
Port Crescent State Park Clear sky chart:
Michigan Designates 3 New Dark Sky Preserves
Star Walk Apps are a go-to interactive guide to the night sky.