Night-sky event at the Headlands - Dec. 2010

Big crowd for extraordinary Eclipse Event!

The hardy stargazers gather for a group photo.

At least 65 people braved the cold winter's night Dec. 20-21 at the Headlands for a spectacular night-sky viewing event that lasted until 4 a.m.

The county-sponsored event, offered free of charge, featured Harbor Springs night-sky expert Mary Stewart Adams, who led stargazers narratively through what they were witnessing above: A total lunar eclipse on Dec. 21, the day of the Winter Solstice as well. The Ursid meteor shower was also visible.

The Headlands property provided the perfect setting for the starry spectacle. Visitors gathered along the Lake Michigan shoreline on the edge of dense forest where light pollution is nearly non-existent. Adams told stories and educated visitors on the events as they unfolded. The Guest House was open for warming up and refreshments.

The program was offered in part to also promote the county's efforts to have the Headlands designated as an International Dark Sky Park. The application process is currently under way. County officials, Adams, and several other involved area residents are hoping for designation in 2011, which would usher in innumerable opportunities for the region in terms of night-sky viewing and learning, while protecting the native habitat.

Professional photographer Robert DeJonge was on hand to photograph the night events. More information about when and where his photos will become available will be forthcoming.

Watch the eclipse in under a minute as recorded on CNN by clicking here.

Additional photos from county staff are available at the bottom of this page.


Eclipse Event scheduled Dec. 21, 2010


A spectacular evening of astronomical happenings will come together on Tuesday, Dec. 21, and the public is invited to a special viewing event at the Headlands in northern Emmet County.

On this darkest day of the year, a total lunar eclipse after midnight on the 21st coincides with the winter solstice, which ushers in the official start of winter. In addition, the Ursid meteor shower will also be filling the sky with its show.

Join Mary Stewart Adams, a Harbor Springs astrosopher and night-sky expert, in a figurative trip to the moon and back. She will explain the astronomical events as they occur, tell stories related to the events and guide visitors to the best viewing spots on this exceptionally dark property two miles west of Mackinaw City.

(Learn more about Adams on her Web site,

Adams will be joined by award-winning photographer Robert de Jonge, who will be photographing the celestial events for his personal and professional portfolios. See his work online at

The event begins at 1:30 a.m. at the Guest House. Please arrive between 11 p.m. and midnight on Monday, Dec. 20, to allow time for site selection and set-up. The eclipse will begin just after the clock ticks to Tuesday. Light refreshments will be served. There are no accommodations available for the night.

There is no charge for this event, sponsored by the Emmet County Parks and Recreation Department. Donations will be accepted toward the ongoing establishment of an International Dark-Sky Park at the Headlands. For more information about the Dark-Sky Park effort, click here.

For directions or further information about the event, call (231) 348-1704. To email Adams:
Notes: This event will take place rain, snow or (moon) shine. In the case of inclement weather, an indoor program will be held. Outdoors, there will be a bonfire; dress appropriately for the conditions. Restroom available on-site.