The 19th Annual Kensington Astronomy at the Beach, hosted by Kensington Metropark and the Great Lakes Association of Astronomy Clubs (GLAAC), will be held September 25th and 26th, 2015. It runs from 6:00 pm to midnight rain or shine both nights. Outdoor astronomy activities demand clear skies, but there’s plenty to do in our pavilion as well.

Michigan Science CenterHuron-Clinton Metroparks

There are activities for almost any interest and taste!

Schedule of activities:

  • 6:00 to Sunset: View sunspots, prominences, and other features of the sun through safe white-light and incredible hydrogen-alpha solar telescopes.
  • 6:20 PM to 10:00 PM  (every 20 minutes): Visit the Michigan Science Center’s portable planetarium for a tour of the constellations and current evening sky.
  • 6:15 PM: Learn about the celestial visitors we call comets. Watch a “comet” be made from dry ice and common household ingredients. Very family friendly.
  • 6:45 PM: Kids can become the constellations in the “Rescue of Andromeda” impromptu play.
  • 7:30 PM: Oh What a Spin We’re In! From galaxies to planets to tornadoes, there’s a lot of spinning going on out there. Find out more about the space environment with liquid nitrogen and everyday common objects, participate in some angular momentum demonstrations, and watch a “fire tornado” come to life!
  • 8:15: Losing the Dark: Why can’t you see many stars from your neighborhood? Learn about how light pollution is making it harder to see stars and other astronomical objects, and what you can do to help reverse the trend.
  • 8:40 PM: 3D tour of the Solar System: Take a short 3D movie tour through our Solar System. This presentation uses the red-blue 3D glasses, please arrive a little early to get your glasses.
  • 9:00 PM: KEYNOTE: Moons and Planets: Dr. Nicolle Zellner, from Albion College, will pose the following questions: Why do we have a moon? Would we even be around if there was no moon? Dr. Zellner will guide us from our close, familiar moon, to exotic hydrocarbon seas, and to the most distant reaches of human exploration.
  • 10 PM: Get a laser-guided tour of the night sky and learn the shapes of the constellations.
  • All evening: there will be a Children’s Sky Tour Treasure Hunt. See one of every type of object for a prize!
  • Stay late and observe dozens of celestial objects until midnight through the many telescopes provided by the GLAAC members.
  • Many vendors will have various astronomy products, such as telescopes, binoculars, eyepieces, books and computer software on display and for purchase.
  • Visit our member clubs and sponsors in the pavilion. Participate in hands-on demonstrations, make-and-take activities, find out which club is nearest to you, and learn more about our wonderful sponsors.

The Flyer for the 2015 event.

There is no admission fee to attend but a Metropark vehicle pass is required. If you don’t have a yearly pass, a daily vehicle pass can be purchased at the gate for just $7.00. The event takes place at Maple Beach inside Kensington Metropark. Food and beverages can be purchased at the Metropark concession stand. Seating outside may be limited, so consider bringing chairs.

People will be looking through telescopes, and the use of white light of any kind makes this difficult. Please be considerate: use only flashlights with red filters and don’t use a flash when taking photos outside.

The night sky isn’t as dark as it used to be. It is harder to see stars, galaxies and nebulae; Turtles, birds, bats and insects that travel at night are getting lost; people are developing more sleep disorders. Find out why.


The current year’s event

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