Top 5 Highlights of Stargazing in Door County
- Newport State Park Dark-Sky Designation: Newport State Park, near the northern tip of the Door Peninsula, is seeking designation as the first park in Wisconsin to be awarded status as an International Dark-Sky Park. Dark-Sky is increasingly seen as valuable preservation in this age of light pollution. Newport is 5 miles from external light sources and possesses quality limited magnitude, which means you can see many of the fainter stars with the naked eye. Count on seeing the Milky Way here!
- Crossroads at Big Creek: There is a lovely Astronomy Campus, including the Ray and Ruthie Stonecipher Astronomy Campus with access off of 42/57 onto Utah St. The prairie area inside the gate offers some nice, dark sky for looking at stars, including an earth mound to recline upon. However, there is no access to vehicles (the gate will be barred) unless a scheduled event is being held. Hike in from the road or other Crossroads entrances. In daytime, visit the Analemmatic Sundial, flat on the ground near the Leif Everson Observatory. Here, YOU get to be the pointer on the clock (gnomon).
- Potawatomi State Park and Washington Island Lookout Towers: Potawatomi Park being open from 6 am to 11 pm, for non-camping visitors. The tower, and the old ski hill, both located at the north end of the park, afford unobstructed views of the night sky. Washington Island’s Tower is located on Mountain Road. It’s a shorter tower because you get to climb many stairs up the hill first.
- Town Marinas: Breakwaters and public docks also afford lovely, fairly dark environments in which to look at the night sky, actually in relative comfort, with benches or big rocks to perch on. I spent many a delightful evening, while working as summer naturalist at The Ridges Sanctuary, at the Bailey’s Harbor breakwater in my early stargazing days. You may get a break on mosquito activity out there too.
- The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society: Want some more? The DPAS meets on the 1st Tuesday of each month at the Ray and Ruthie Stonecipher Astronomy Center, 7 pm. Access is off 42/57 on Utah Street. Topics such as: NASA’s Sophia Mission, and, The Latest in Astronomy News, are presented. The DPAS faithfully shows up to share their telescopes at Sky-Viewing Events at Crossroads at Big Creek, Whitefish Dunes State Park Candlelight Hikes and at The Sister Bay Sports Complex…..dependent upon clear skies, of course.