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Dark sky

starry sky above lighthouse

Dark sky

Michigan is lucky to play host to both dark sky preserves and parks that offer stellar celestial landscapes. These locations are specially designated because they have qualities that complement nighttime viewing, such as the ability to limit the amount of artificial light. There are also plenty of excellent night-sky viewing opportunities across more than 15,000 square miles in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.


* To take full advantage of your night sky experience, make your Michigan state park camping reservation at MiDNRReservations.com.

A starry night at Rockport State Park

Dark sky preserves

Stargazers can visit areas of state parks, specially designated by state legislature as dark sky preserves, 24 hours a day. These areas are signed and located in the following state parks:

Internationally designated dark sky parks

Dark sky parks are designated by the International Dark Sky Association. They are located in the following places in Michigan: 

Other stargazing opportunities

International Dark Sky Week

International Dark Sky Week, which takes place each spring, is hosted by the International Dark-Sky Association to encourage discovery of the night sky. The week-long event promotes worldwide stargazing opportunities and the negative impacts of light pollution.

The Northern Lights

The first time you see the Northern Lights your brain will spend at least a few minutes trying to understand what is before you – the slowly moving curtains of wispy greens, whites and pinks. The Northern Lights are created by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere.

Clear, winter nights provide the best viewing, so gazing upward and toward the north might just provide you with that outdoor experience you've been waiting. They are best seen late August through early April.

2022 meteor showers

  • Quadrantids: Jan. 2-3
  • Lyrids: April 21-22
  • Eta Aquarids: May 5
  • Delta Aquarids: July 29-30
  • Perseids: Aug.11-12
  • Draconids: Oct. 8
  • Orionids: Oct. 21
  • Southern Taurids: Nov. 4-5
  • Northern Taurids: Nov. 11-12
  • Leonids: Nov. 17-18
  • Geminids: Dec. 13-14
  • Ursids: Dec. 22

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the biggest astronomical events of the year, taking place each August.

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