Once again, the Great Lakes Association of Astronomy Clubs (GLAAC) is partnering with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources this year to bring the event to the Kent Lake area of Island Lake State Recreation Area. The event will be September 14 & 15, from 6:00 pm to midnight, rain or shine, both nights. Outdoor astronomy activities demand clear skies, but there’s plenty to do in the tent and park building as well.

This year our theme is “Mars and the Great Planetary Show.” Come look through our big
telescopes at Mars, Jupiter and Saturn! We’ll also have a Mars talk in the big tent.

RSVP on our Facebook event, and invite your friends and family!

Download the brochure.

Where is it this year?

Here’s a road map, courtesy Google:

Regional map from Google maps showing the location of AATB 2018.

And here’s a detailed map of the site:

What happens at Astronomy at the Beach?

Video by WAS/FAAC/7 Ponds club member Doug Bock

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.
  • 6:00 PM: Learn about meteorites, rocks from space that have fallen from the sky. See and touch a piece of space! Very family friendly.
  • 7:00 PM: Learn about the celestial visitors we call comets. Watch a “comet” be made from dry ice and common household ingredients. Very family friendly.
  • 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!
  • 8:00: 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.
  • 8:30 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: How do we get to Mars: Aaron Ridley, Professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan will talk about the issues with getting to Mars and possible plans on how we could travel there. Appropriate for all ages.
  • 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. Highlights: craters on the moon, Jupiter’s
    Red Spot and moons, Saturn’s rings, and red Mars with a white polar ice cap.
  • All evening: very cool science demonstrations, member astronomy clubs to talk to, space
    pictures for sale, food available for purchase
  • Visit our member clubs and sponsors. Participate in hands-on demonstrations, make-and-take activities, find out which club is nearest to you, and learn
    more about our wonderful sponsors

There is no admission fee to attend but a recreation passport is required for park entry. If you didn’t purchase one when you renewed your vehicle registration, you can get a sticker at the gate. The event takes place at Kent Lake Beach inside Island Lake State Recreation Area. Visitors are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle. 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.

About the Speaker

Professor Aaron Ridley teaches classes at University of Michigan on Satellite Mission Design, High Altitude Ballooning, and Rocket Science.  He conducts research on the upper atmosphere, and has been involved with a variety of satellite missions.  He has a science podcast called X and Why and writes TheRocketScienceBlog.


Information and Photos from Previous Years

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