Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium Tour Hits Gunflint Trail

The Dark Sky Caravan inflatable planetarium - Credit UMD
The Dark Sky Caravan inflatable planetarium - Credit UMD
The Dark Sky Caravan inflatable planetarium - Credit UMD
The Dark Sky Caravan inflatable planetarium – Credit UMD

Road Trip to the Stars: U of M Dark Sky Caravan travels to Cook County

Grand Marais MN – Travel – The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium is hitting the road from Duluth to the end of the Gunflint Trail Aug. 11-18. The traveling event will coincide with the annual Perseid Meteor shower where stargazers can expect to see 50-70 meteors or shooting stars per hour.

The mobile GeoDome Theater creates an immersive learning environment that is interactive and engaging. University of Minnesota Duluth staff and students will lead attendees through a dynamic digital space exploration experience. Accompanying the planetarium will be telescopes offering live sky viewing with consultation, thanks to volunteers from the Arrowhead Astronomical Society.

“It is the perfect time of year for stargazing. Each day we will be in a new location with the portable planetarium and telescopes to observe the sun, stars, planets and moon,” said Joel Halvorson, interim Planetarium Director of the University of Minnesota Duluth. “Our final two nights of the caravan take place at the end of the Gunflint Trail, which happens to be one of the best places in the entire country for observing the stars.”

All events are free, with daily programming that will run from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.*

Planetarium shows will be offered on the half hour. In the event of cloudy skies, programming will be limited to the planetarium.

Date                                                      Location

Saturday, August 11                        UMD Planetarium, Duluth

Sunday, August 12                           Tettegouche Visitor Center, Silver Bay

Monday, August 13                         Birch Grove Community Center, Tofte

Tuesday, August 14                         Voyageur Brewing Company, Grand Marais

Wednesday, August 15                  Grand Portage Community Center, Grand Portage*

(hours 5 p.m.- 8 p.m.)

Thursday, August 16                        Seagull Lake Community Center, upper Gunflint Trail

Friday, August 17                              Seagull Lake Community Center, upper Gunflint Trail

The end of the tour wraps up with two nights at the end of the Gunflint Trail – known for its pure dark sky with a reading of a class 1 on the Bortle scale, which translates into an excellent dark sky with minimal light pollution.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to partner with the University of Minnesota to offer the Dark Sky Caravan this August. Finally, we’re able to bring the universe to you!” said Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County.

The Dark Sky Caravan is the prequel to a new event, the Dark Sky Festival, slated for December 2018. The event will be centered around celebrating the night sky with a lineup of presenters, photographers, and star story tellers creating an immersive experience for longtime star gazers and novices. More details can be found at

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