The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium is hitting the road from Duluth to the end of the Gunflint Trail Aug. 11-18. The traveling event will coincide with the annual Perseid Meteor shower where stargazers can expect to see 50-70 meteors or shooting stars per hour.
The mobile GeoDome Theater creates an immersive learning environment that is interactive and engaging. University of Minnesota Duluth staff and students will lead attendees through a dynamic digital space exploration experience. Accompanying the planetarium will be telescopes offering live sky viewing with consultation, thanks to volunteers from the Arrowhead Astronomical Society.
“It is the perfect time of year for stargazing. Each day we will be in a new location with the portable planetarium and telescopes to observe the sun, stars, planets and moon,” said Joel Halvorson, interim Planetarium Director of the University of Minnesota Duluth. “Our final two nights of the caravan take place at the end of the Gunflint Trail, which happens to be one of the best places in the entire country for observing the stars.”
All events are free, with daily programming that will run from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.*
Planetarium shows will be offered on the half hour. In the event of cloudy skies, programming will be limited to the planetarium.
Saturday, August 11 UMD Planetarium, Duluth
Sunday, August 12 Tettegouche Visitor Center, Silver Bay
Monday, August 13 Birch Grove Community Center, Tofte
Tuesday, August 14 Voyageur Brewing Company, Grand Marais
Wednesday, August 15 Grand Portage Community Center, Grand Portage*
(hours 5 p.m.- 8 p.m.)
Thursday, August 16 Seagull Lake Community Center, upper Gunflint Trail
Friday, August 17 Seagull Lake Community Center, upper Gunflint Trail
The end of the tour wraps up with two nights at the end of the Gunflint Trail – known for its pure dark sky with a reading of a class 1 on the Bortle scale, which translates into an excellent dark sky with minimal light pollution.
“We are thrilled about the opportunity to partner with the University of Minnesota to offer the Dark Sky Caravan this August. Finally, we’re able to bring the universe to you!” said Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County.
The Dark Sky Caravan is the prequel to a new event, the Dark Sky Festival, slated for December 2018. The event will be centered around celebrating the night sky with a lineup of presenters, photographers, and star story tellers creating an immersive experience for longtime star gazers and novices. More details can be found at https://www.visitcookcounty.com/dark-sky-caravan