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Top 5 Locations To Stargaze in Lake County

“There’s a starman waiting in the sky. He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds.”

Staring fondly into the eyes of a constellation is a wondrous sight.

There are many different locations to stargaze in Lake County, but there are many elements to factor into your date with the night sky.

Cleardarksky.com has many tools to detect if it is a good night to stare at the sky. In summary according to the website, to stargaze individuals can search the astronomer’s forecast. The observer must take into consideration the cloud cover, transparency, astronomical seeing, darkness (sans light pollution), wind speed, humidity, and temperature.

Another measurement of seeing a myriad of sky twinkles is by checking your area’s Bortle Scale. The Bortle scale is a nine-level scope that measures the night sky’s brightness of a particular location. It quantifies the astronomical observability of celestial objects and the interference caused by light by light pollution. (Who would’ve thought looking at cool clusters of stars could be so difficult?)

Continue here to check the breakdown of The Bortle Dark-Sky Scale.

So what’re you doing tonight, and how’s the weather? If you’re trying to “make a wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are.” Here are the top 5 locations to stargaze in Lake County (according to various sources).

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Illinois Beach State Park

One of the most optimal locations to stargaze in the Chicagoland area. The Zion site offers clear views away from light pollution that the city expels. The best area in the state park to scan the sky is the campground, which is tucked away from the street lights and pitch black during nightfall.

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Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

According to NPR, this Highland Park location is a great Lake County location to view the stars, the moon and the Milky Way. The light pollution isn’t as prominent, and the area during nightfall reads as a six or seven on the Bortle Scale which means you can possibly see the Orion Nebula. The 77-acre nature preserve, like Illinois Beach State Park, is located along the Lake Michigan shore. The Chicago Astronomical Society sometimes hosts stargazing meetups, so you’ll be in good company.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 🍀

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Hackney’s in Lake Zurich

Unfortunately, we cannot make an entire onion ring/Saturn ring experience since Hackney’s has closed their doors, but according to CBS Chicago, Hackney’s parking lot is the place to be when the lights go down in the village.

Lake Michigan

According to NPR, you can see a brilliant glow in the sky if you’re on a boat in the middle of the great lake. That glow is the Milky Way. The Bortle Scale reads a 2-3, which enables viewers to see the complexity of the Milkway, globular clusters, zodiacal light and so much more. If you have a boat on Waukegan Harbor or North Point Harbor, float your way out away from the shore, and you’ll see a show of a lifetime.

amazing clouds last evening

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Ryerson Woods/Skokie Valley Astronomers

The Skokie Valley Astronomers is a club devoted to amateur astronomy. They meet the second Friday of the month at Ryerson Woods. The Lake County Forest Preserve is a perfect area to sky search.

Honorable Mention

Never stop looking for adventure. You might just find it the next town over ☀️🌻🌍

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Crabtree Nature Center

The Barrington Hills center regularly hosts stargazing sessions during moonless nights.

 

 

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