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Dark Sky Festival

December 13, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 3:15 pm, repeating until December 14, 2019


Head north to celebrate some of the nation’s darkest skies on Dec. 13-14. The Dark Sky Festival is the second annual celebration of its kind in the Arrowhead Region, and it will feature presentations from Minnesota’s most renowned Dark Sky experts.


Some businesses in the town of Grand Marais plan to go “lights out” for a few minutes Friday night to deepen the area’s legendary darkness as they kick off the beginning of the second annual festival.


“We boast the darkest sky east of the Mississippi,” said Linda Jurek, the executive director at Visit Cook County in a recent Northern Wilds article. “In fact, a short drive up the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway will bring you the wonderment of complete darkness. That is, of course, unless it is a clear night with northern lights dancing and the Milky Way shining brightly. It truly is a site to behold.” Northern Wilds is a monthly magazine devoted to life along the North Shore from Duluth to beyond Thunder Bay.


Astronomer and local broadcast meteorologist Mike Lynch of WCCO radio in the Twin Cities will be present with his high-powered telescopes, instructing attending stargazers on how to use the instruments during the festival.  He writes a weekly Sky Watch column for the Pioneer Press and describes himself as “obsessed” with the wonders of the night sky.


University of Minnesota – Duluth Program Director Joel Halvorson and UMD students will bring back the traveling planetarium, which visited Cook County in August and during last year’s festival.   Attendees will have the opportunity to use telescopes set up outside see  all that the dark sky has to offer and the famous winter Geminid Meteor Shower, which is said to be at its peak during the festival, of course weather and cloud dependent.


Travis Notvitsky and Bryan Hansel are the two most experienced night sky photographers in the Midwest. They’ll talk about why they love night sky photography, and what drives them to travel the lonely, dark, roads of Cook County in the middle of the night, so they can create wondrous images from their night sky adventures.

For details, please check out the Visit Cook County web site:


December 13, 2019
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Visit Cook County

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