As you move further from the bright lights of the big city of Chicago you’ll be able to gaze into the celestial landscapes and bright stars along the South Shore of Lake Michigan. If you’re from a small rural town, you may be familiar with the dark vast night sky; but if you’re a city dweller you’ll take solace in the quiet and wonder you’ll find in here, in northwest Indiana.
On a clear night, both avid and amateur stargazers can find a number of constellations, star clusters, galaxies and meteoroid showers.
One of the darkest spots along the lakeshore is at Kemil Beach at the Indiana Dunes National Park in Beverly Shores. The National Park Service hosts Stargazing events throughout the year at this location. Members from local and surrounding Astronomical Societies share their telescopes with visitors; or you can bring your own binoculars.
Observe the night sky with the Calumet Astronomical Society at the Calumet Astronomy Center located at Buckley Homestead in Lowell. The Center includes the Northwest Indiana Robotic Telescope and the Thomas Conway Observatory. Astronomers host events throughout the year where visitors can learn more about our planets, moons, stars and galaxies (weather permitting).
The South Shore is also home to the Challenger Learning Center and Robert H. Rivers Planetarium. Groups young and old are invited to take part in simulated missions in space or a planetarium show. Explore space from the comfort of the 40-seat full-dome theater. You don’t need to be an astronaut to learn about Galileo’s first explorations of the heavens, modern day space explorations, black holes and more.
The South Shore has a number of locations where stars are visible at night; don’t be afraid to look up and explore on your own. Under the right conditions, you can see the hazy outlines of the Milky Way. There are also a number of apps available on Google Play and the iStore to help you navigate the stars.
Are you and your family new to stargazing? Here's an article we found that might help - A Beginner's Guide to Stargazing from Home with Children.
Indiana Dunes National Park
East State Park Road, Beverly Shores
Stargazing programs at the National Park begin shortly after sunset on the second Saturday of the month. Call ahead 219-395-1882 for details.
Calumet Astronomy Center
Thomas Conway Observatory
19100 Chase Street, Lowell
Join Astronomy members at the Observatory on the second Saturday of the month. Please view their online calendar to confirm stargazing activities.
Challenger Learning Center
2300 173rd Street, Hammond
Organize a simulated space mission, enjoy adult date nights or take in a Planetarium show at the Center.