The Leonid meteor shower, this week, is expected to bring more meteors than usual, but the conditions for viewing in Michigan look rather dismal. The National Weather Service forecast, for the weekend evenings of November 18th and 19th, calls for mostly cloudy skies with a chance of snow showers. 

Is it just me, or does it seem that the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo areas get ripped off regularly when it comes to viewing the various meteor showers throughout the year? Old engravings, from centuries past, show scads of meteors filling the skies. And when we DO have clear skies, very few impressive meteors streak across the skies of the Kalamazoo valley. Light pollution from the Cereal City and the Celery City does hamper viewing, but even when you flee into the nearby boonies the predicted showers seem less spectacular. 

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Michigan does offer dark sky preserves but it takes a long trek up north to enjoy the show. The Alpena area offers three state-designated Dark Sky Preserves. The Rockport State Recreation Area, Thompson’s Harbor State Park, and Negwegon State Park are among the Great Lakes parks that offer the lowest light pollution. Other notable viewing sites include the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Isle Royale National Park in Houghton, Whitefish Point in Paradise, and Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise. In fact, the entire U.P. can be considered for prime viewing. 

Sky dorks predict that there could be a surge of meteor shower activity at around 1 AM that could result in dozens, or maybe even hundreds of meteors within the hour. Well, maybe so...but the likely disappointed stargazers in Michigan will be viewing the back of their eyelids, after calling it a night. 

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