It's getting to that time of the year where the weather will be warmer and it'll be perfect conditions to sit outside at night and watch the sky light up with the sight of hundreds of thousands of stars and planets. Unfortunately, if you live in a highly-populated area like Kalamazoo, the light pollution absolutely kills the ability for you to get a real good glimpse at the Milky Way. There is actually a website that shows just how much light pollution affects Southwest MI.

Darksitefinder.com will show you a general outline of the state of Michigan's light pollution in a thermal-type map. As you can see, there aren't many great spots in our area that have the conditions for great stargazing:

darksitefinder.com
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It's a bit of a hike, but there are a few good places near Kalamazoo where you can really experience the wonder of our galaxy:

  • Dr. Lawless International Dark Sky Park / Michigan Dark Sky Preserve In Cass County, located at 15122 Monkey Run Street Vandalia, MI, US 49095
  • Fennville Farm Unit (Todd Farm), 6013 118th Ave, Fennville, MI 49408
  • James C. Veen Observatory, 3308 Kissing Rock Avenue SE Lowell, MI 49331

Personally, there is a spot in Traverse City that I like to go to when I'm up north that is perfect for stargazing on Center St. (37) on the peninsula between the East & West Arm Grand Traverse Bay. It's one of the highest points of the city and far enough away from downtown to where you can actually see the light pollution rise from the city, but are far enough away to appreciate the view of the sky.

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