NASA Joins Island Lake Rec for Michigan’s Biggest ‘Star Party’ with High-Powered Telescopes
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NASA Joins Island Lake Rec for Michigan’s Biggest ‘Star Party’ with High-Powered Telescopes

Prepare to embark on a celestial journey as “Astronomy at the Beach” makes its highly anticipated return to Kent Lake Beach at the Island Lake picnic grounds. 

Scheduled for Friday, September 22, and Saturday, September 23, from 4 pm until midnight, this annual “star party” promises to be an astronomical extravaganza unlike any other in Michigan. 

Outer space enthusiast and accomplished photographer Brian Ottum describes the upcoming event as the largest astronomy-focused public gathering in the state. 

With a captivating lineup of activities and offerings, ‘Astronomy at the Beach’ is set to captivate attendees of all ages. 

The event boasts a remarkable assembly of over 40 telescopes, courtesy of various astronomy clubs from the region. 

These powerful instruments will grant attendees the opportunity to gaze upon distant planets, twinkling stars, and even galaxies situated millions of light years away. 

Ottum emphasizes that the sheer scale of these telescopes, some towering at 10 feet tall, enables viewers to witness galaxies that reside unfathomably distant from our own. 

For those intrigued by the radiant sun, solar telescopes will be available from 4 pm to 6 pm each day of the event. 

Ottum enthusiastically shares that these telescopes offer a unique view of a particularly “active” sun, showcasing solar flares, spots, and storms in astonishing detail. Adding an educational twist, a telescopic scavenger hunt for kids will engage young minds while imparting valuable insights into the cosmos. 

The ‘star party’ is the collective effort of various astronomy clubs within the Great Lakes Association of Astronomy Clubs, an alliance committed to sharing the wonders of the universe with the public. 

Collaborative partners include notable institutions like the Michigan Science Center, the State Department of Natural Resources, and the University of Michigan’s Dearborn Observatory, among others. 

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Exploring the Cosmos at Astronomy at the Beach

Prepare to embark on a celestial journey as “Astronomy at the Beach” makes its highly anticipated return to Kent Lake Beach at the Island Lake picnic grounds.

Enthusiast and photographer Brian Ottum, a member of The Ann Arbor Lowbrow Astronomers club, will also be showcasing his captivating space photographs. 

Ottum, known for his educational presentations on astronomy, is excited to announce that NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland will be joining the event. 

The NASA exhibit will feature awe-inspiring space photographs and engaging hands-on science activities. 

Attendees can explore a captivating meteorite exhibit, interact with vendors, and partake in family-friendly activities and demonstrations. 

Renowned meteorologist Paul Gross, formerly of WDIV-TV, will be a featured presenter. Gross will delve into the upcoming major total solar eclipse set to darken the sky on April 8, 2024, an event that will cast its shadow over locations as close as Ohio. 

A standout aspect of the event is its accessibility, appealing to both science enthusiasts and families seeking an educational and entertaining outing. 

Over the years, the ‘star party’ has drawn around 3,000 attendees, ranging from curious individuals to dedicated educators who incentivize their students with extra credit for attending. 

Admission to the “star party” is complimentary for holders of Michigan State Parks’ “recreation passport” registration. 

With an affordable annual fee of $18 for state residents, this passport offers access to a wealth of natural wonders and outdoor adventures. 

Non-Michigan residents can conveniently purchase day passes for $9. As the sun sets and the stars emerge, “Astronomy at the Beach” promises an enthralling exploration of the cosmos, fostering a deeper appreciation for the vast universe that surrounds us. 

Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or new to the wonders of the night sky, this event offers a unique opportunity to connect with fellow astronomy enthusiasts and marvel at the boundless beauty of the cosmos.

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Source: Livingston Daily

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