We’ve saved you the best seat in the house to watch the Leonid meteor shower in Alpena! 

The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak in the middle of the night of November 18th, so the best times to watch it will be between dusk and dawn on November 17th and 18th. This year there will be very little lunar interference, as the waxing crescent moon will set before midnight, making the sky the perfect shade of star-speckled black for a great night of viewing. The forecast for the Alpena region is looking like clear conditions for Friday overnight!

Where to watch…

One of our three designated dark sky preserves of course! We are lucky to be centrally located to three designated dark sky preserves, officially designated in February of 2016.  These parks are now protected from artificial light pollution and provide amazing night sky stargazing. With light pollution readings among the lowest in the Great Lakes region, Alpena is a prime location for viewing the cosmos!

Rockport State Recreation Area
  • GPS: 45.202386, -83.384044
    Distance from Alpena: 11 miles north of Alpena via US-23 N. to Rockport Road. Follow Rockport Rd to the end.
    On-site facilities: Vault toilet, picnic area.
Negwegon State Park 
  • GPS: 44.865832, -83.327580
    Distance from Alpena: 20 miles South of Alpena on US-23 S. Take US-23 S to Wilds Rd. Turn East on Wilds Rd. Wilds Rd. turns into Sand Hill Rd. and then turns East onto Negwegon Park Rd.
    On-site facilities: Vault toilet, artesian well.
Thompson’s Harbor State Park 
  • GPS: 45.335465, -83.603988
    Distance from Alpena: 26 miles North of Alpena on US-23 N.
    On-site Facilities: Parking area. Vault toilet.
A Brief History…

The Leonid showers get their name because they appear to come from the constellation of Leo in the night sky. The Leonid showers are in existence due to  Comet Tempel-Tuttle. This comet completes its orbit around the sun every 33 years, which means every 33 years we are dazzled with Leonid meteor storms! This is not a year for Leonid meteor storms, however, the next one is expected to occur in 2031.

Stargazing at Rockport State Recreation Area. Photo by Paul Gerow

Stargazing at Rockport State Recreation Area. Photo by Paul Gerow


*cover photo of Milky Way galaxy at Rockport State Recreation Area courtesy of Pure Michigan

All facts found at https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-leonid-meteor-shower/