Grand Traverse Astronomical Society 2018 Star Party and Event Schedule

Northwestern Michigan College's Joseph H. Rogers Observatory, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and other locations.

Note: This schedule is subject to change so check often. Previous events will be removed.

Outdoor events will be canceled due to cloudy or inclement weather.







September 19

7-8:30 p.m.

Traverse Area District Library – Woodmere Ave.

New! 7 p.m. twilight talk on the Moon, Then observing the Moon, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter possibly Venus if it’s clear.


September 21

7-10 pm

Betsie Valley District Library, Thompsonville

7 p.m. twilight talk on the Moon, 8 p.m. Star Party - Moon, Saturn, Mars


September 29

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Flintfields Horse Park
Bates Rd, Acme

Acme Fall Festival: Sun, Venus


October 3

7-8:30 p.m.

Traverse Area District Library – Woodmere Ave.

New! 7 p.m. Twilight talk. Then observing Mars, and Saturn plus some of the brighter wonders of the Milky Way if it’s clear.


October 5

8-9 p.m.

NMC Observatory

New! GTAS Meeting. All are welcome. All about choosing a telescope, or not, for Christmas giving,


October 5*

9-11 p.m.

NMC Observatory

Mars, Saturn, the Milky Way from Cassiopeia to northern Sagittarius


October 20

8 p.m. -?

200 block Front St
Traverse City

International Observe the Moon Night


October 21

8-10 p.m.

SBDNL-Dune Climb

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
48th Anniversary Star Party


November 2

8-9 p.m.

NMC Observatory

New! GTAS Meeting. All are welcome. Hands on Moon phase demonstrations. Make your own star finder for any date and night time. And more.


November 2*

9-11 p.m.

NMC Observatory

Saturn early, Mars, Great Andromeda Galaxy, Pleiades, northern Milky Way.


December 7

8-9 p.m.

NMC Observatory

New! GTAS Meeting. All are welcome. In Search of the Star of Bethlehem by Bob Moler. Looking at evidence for and against the star of the Magi.


December 7*

9-11 p.m.

NMC Observatory

Mars, Great Andromeda Galaxy, Great Orion Nebula, Pleiades, Double Cluster

* On these dates the viewing session is preceded by a meeting and program by the GTAS at 8 p.m. Normally meetings are on the first Friday of the month, except August where there is a star party only. All are welcome to these meetings. The programs for the October, November and December meetings are added because they are of popular interest.

See for updated outreach events around the area.

Also go to the society’s FaceBook page at

Explanation Key

SBDNLSleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Dates with question mark have not yet been approved by the park.

- Sun viewing


Dark - Dark skies. Deep Sky Objects (DSOs: star clusters, nebulae and galaxies) visible depending on the season.

Twilight - Twilight lasts through out the viewing period. Some Deep Sky Objects may be visible near the end of the viewing period.

Objects other than planets:

Orion Nebula - A stellar nursery 1,800 light years away. The best and closest such object. Visible on winter evenings.

Summer Milky Way - Many Deep Sky Objects are visible in our galaxy. The Milky Way is best seen on August and September evenings with the moon out of the sky. This also means dark skies.

In Case of Inclement Weather:

NMC Rogers Observatory star parties:

Other star parties will be canceled.

Festival events will have exhibits only if observing is not possible.


The GTAS does not collect fees, however we do accept donations. In some venues we cannot solicit donations, such as at NMC or Sleeping Bear Dunes who collect their own fees. If we can solicit donations we will have our donation jars out if you'd like to contribute. We also accept donations of used telescopes which we either can use for star parties or resell at our annual yard sale.

The GTAS is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) educational organization subsisting on membership dues, and donations, which are tax deductible.

For more information on events at the Rogers Observatory call (231)995-2300

For more information on events sponsored by the GTAS go to 

Link to MapQuest map of the Rogers Observatory, Traverse City, MI (drive entrance)

Schedule as of 09/18/18. Changes can be made at any time, so check often.