Wednesday, November 5, 2014

‘The Lion’s Roar -- Meteor Shower and Lantern Walk’ at Headlands on Nov. 15

Join Emmet County for a lantern walk and stargazing at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park during the Leonid Meteor Shower

Date: Saturday, Nov. 15
Location: Meet at the Guest House at the Headlands, 15675 Headlands Road, Mackinaw City
Time: 8-10 p.m.

The Leonid Meteor Shower, which sends shooting stars this way from November 5th until the 30th, peaks the night of Nov. 17-18. Join Emmet County on Saturday, Nov. 15 -- the weekend just before the peak -- to learn about the Leonids and to participate in the centuries-old practice of walking through the night with lanterns at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City.

“The parent comet of the Leonids is Comet 55P Tempel/Tuttle, discovered in the 1860s, just as the American Civil War was coming to an end. Meteor showers happen when Earth passes through the trail of stuff left by comets as they speed through our system,” explained Mary Stewart Adams, Dark Sky Park program director at the Headlands.

“Tempel-Tuttle has an orbital period of 33 years, so it has sped by several times since the close of the Civil War, but because it stays on the same orbital path, it may be that we are racing through many layers of history when we encounter the broken up bits of Tempel-Tuttle, that burn up as they shoot through our atmosphere.”

Additionally, telescopes will be on hand for views of the red planet Mars, now positioned in the thickest region of the Milky Way.

There is no cost to attend the program. Meet at the Guest House. Program takes place rain or shine, no reservations needed. Questions? Call (231) 348-1713 or email

Also in November …
Saturday, Nov. 22, is the Headlands’ “Thanksgiving New Moon Stargaze” event, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Guest House.

“As the asterism of the Summer Triangle begins its slow wane into the West, the mighty Hunter Orion crests the horizon in the East, climbing into the night with his companion dogs and the Taurean Bull, shifting our attention from the warm and lazy days of summer to the brisk and more inwardly wakeful nights of winter. Orion stands triumphant, master of seasons that change in his wake here below,” said Adams.

At Headlands, “we are taking advantage of Orion's charge by gathering at November's New Moon. This will be the last weekend of quiet before the onset of the holiday season, so gather with us and together we will count our lucky stars,” she added.

On this night, guests will explore the many traditions of stories and science connected with the Orion Region of the sky, where the horse-head nebula, the pearly gates, the point of origin for our celestial system and more, all find their home.

Program will be held indoors and out, with seasonally specific light refreshments. Rain or shine, no fee, no reservations required.

The Headlands is a 600-acre park on the Straits of Mackinac, two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City, at 15675 Headlands Road (please note this is a new address as of January 2014). The park is free and open to the public every day. While no camping is allowed, visitors are welcome to stay overnight to observe the dark sky overhead. The Headlands became the 6th International Dark Sky Park in the U.S. and the 9th in the world in May 2011, and each month free programs are held for the public. Visit for programs and more information, email, or call (231) 348-1704. The county sends regular email blasts as well with information about night-sky observation opportunities and celestial events; to register, use the contact information above.

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