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Stargazing

Keweenaw Dark Sky Park
[ an International Dark Sky Park, read the application ]

Property is accessible at night to the general public for stargazing.
For best viewing locations see the map below or talk with a team member at the OAC.

The Keweenaw is fortunate to have dark skies, where one can look up and easily see a multitude of bright stars in the sky. There is very little artificial light around the Keweenaw. This is especially the case at the tip of the Keweenaw, where the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is located.

Taken on the KML golf course, Hole 9, April 4, 2021, at 1am. Photo taken by former KML staff member, Nick Niffin

There are many nights which provide prime opportunities for stargazing, where you can look see the following at or around the resort:

The Lodge’s Stargazing Event Calendar

Upcoming Stargazing Events

Past Stargazing Events

View Calendar

Telescope Lending Program

KML lodging guests are welcome to borrow a telescope from the Outdoors Activity Center (OAC).  Using a telescope to view stars enhances the experience of, as one can get closer to what you are seeing above you at night. [ Learn more about the Telescope Lending Program ]

Night Sky Viewing Locations and Map

Below are maps of desired areas where you can venture around the property and at the top of the Keweenaw — with the Lodge complex (main building and Outdoor Activity Center) being the stargazing headquarters. 

[ Click on the above image to download PDF version of the map ]

[ Click on the above image to download a PDF version of the map ]

You can walk around the golf course at night (as long as you stay off the greens and tees) and look up at the stars.

Flashlights: It is useful to take a flashlight with you when you are walking around the property so you watch where you are stepping. To be considerate of others, a red flashlight is preferred. If you do not have one, inquire at the OAC about borrowing one. If using a flashlight that uses standard colored bulb, be respective of others while viewing the night sky by making sure to shine it downwards and turn it off when not needed.

Surrounding Areas

At the top of the Keweenaw, there are not very many areas that are developed. This offers stargazers multiple locations to look up and see the stars. This includes places along the Lake Superior lake front (on M-26 and US Hwy 41),  in multiple county and state parks, and up Brockway Mountain; all of which are just a short jaunt away from the Lodge. Below is a map of several vantage points in surrounding areas.

The top of the Keweenaw is well known for being able to see the aurora borealis, also called Northern Lights. Looking from the shores of Lake Superior and from atop Brockway Mountain, you have a good opportunity to look north and see “the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind”.

The best times to view the Northern Lights is between October and April, but do remember, there isn’t a light switch which turns on the lights. One is at the whim of nature on when they are viewable.

Copper Harbor Ice, Hunters Point and Porters Island – April 10, 2022 2:15 am – Camera settings: 15 seconds F3.5 ISO 1000

[ We are also working on a “Northern Lights” camera setup that will allow you to view the stars and the Northern Lights from our web site, like our webcams fo the Lodge and Hole 1 / Brockway Mountain. Learn More ]

Clear Sky Chart for Copper Harbor, Michigan

This chart shows how clear the skies are predicted to be over the next several days.


To see what the constellations look like currently over Copper Harbor, via the Heaven’s Above site:

Aurora Forecast, from NOAA

The image above is from NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, and is updated automatically from NOAA’s web site.

New Moon

The stages of the moon offers different viewing experiences of the stars. A new moon is when the sun and the moon are aligned, and the moon is invisible from earth. Thus, the sky is darker during a new moon, and the stars are brighter.

Below is the current year (2022) New Moon Calendar.

January 2 July 28 *
February 1 August 27 *
March 2 September 25 *
April 1* October 25 *
April 30* November 23 *
May 30 * December 23 *
June 28 *  

* Night Sky Photography Workshops will be held on dates near these days. Click on the links associated with each date to see the information about the workshops. See “Night Sky Photography” section below for more information about the workshops.  

Moon Calendar for October

 

Night Sky Photography

Photo shooting the night sky is one of the most technically difficult shots to take. So when you are able to capture the beauty of the sky, it becomes an accomplishment. We have several team members on staff that have this skill, and which lead several night-sky photo workshops throughout the year. View our calendar of events to find an upcoming workshop.

Stargazing Apps

Night Sky App [ iPhone ]

Skyview Lite App [ Android | iPhone ]

Stellarium [ Android | iPhone ]

Aurora [ Android | iPhone ]

Stargazing in Michigan

Here are articles about locations in the state of Michigan which offer vantage points to see the stars, along with various tips to see the dark skies:

Supporting the Dark Skies

Stargazing is made possible in the Keweenaw by having dark skies, and we continue to foster dark skies with our activities (e.g. educational workshops, lighting management) and being a part of the International Dark-Sky Association.

Each year, in April, the world celebrates International Dark Sky Week in April. This year, it was April 22-30, 2022. The State of Michigan also issued a proclamation this year stating it was International Dark Sky Week in the state. [ Read the State of Michigan Proclamation ]

The benefits of dark skies are:

  • Improve one’s circadian clock (or rhythm) — sleep patterns, hormone release, eating habits and digestion, and body temperature; for good health, we need sunshine as well as darkness [ i.e. better circadian clock means a better sleep, which contributes to better overall health ]
  • Improving ecological integrity — many plants, wildlife, and insects rely on darkness to forage, breed and navigate, thus dark skies help them survive. [ e.g. many birds migrate at night, and the top of the Keweenaw is one of their byways ]
  • Ensuring the full enjoyment of a wilderness experience

To learn more about our Lighting Management Plan, see: