Starry Skies Articles

The Starry Skies Project celebrates the night sky over the Apostle Islands and seeks ways to protect the view for generations to come.

Canoecopia 2024 includes presentations on protecting our Starry Skies, paddling the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Canoecopia 2024 includes presentations on protecting our Starry Skies, paddling the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

If paddling the spectacular sea caves in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is on your bucket list, we invite you to see us at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin, March 8-10, 2024. This annual event includes more than 100 educational presentations and clinics on kayaking, canoeing and related topics, including presentations by Friends Executive Director Jeff Rennicke and Ranger Steve Ballou of the National Park Service. You'll also be able to learn from the experts what gear you need to safely explore the islands.Alliant Energy Center1919 Alliant Energy WayEvent host Rutabaga Paddlesports...

Reading the sacred skies: new book offered by Friends

Reading the sacred skies: new book offered by Friends

Since long before books, humans have turned to the night sky to read portends, seek beauty and meaning, and to find their place in the universe. A new book, now offered on the Friends’ website, speaks to both the human connection to the night sky and hopes for its protection.Spirits Dancing: The Night Sky, Indigenous Knowledge, & Living Connections to the Cosmos features the photography of Travis Novitsky and text by Annette S. Lee. Novitsky, a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, uses his lens to capture the awe and wonder of the northern lights. Lee, both an...

Bayfield’s Carnegie Library embraces dark sky protection with planned lighting changes

Bayfield’s Carnegie Library embraces dark sky protection with planned lighting changes

Teresa Weber, Library DirectorBayfield Carnegie Library’s motto is “A compass for curious minds.” One of the primary goals of library director Teresa Weber is to enlighten the public. Right now, Teresa is also trying to “enlighten” the walkways leading to the library without negatively impacting the dark skies over the city. Teresa recently spoke with Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore board member Neil Howk about this upcoming project. Neil also serves on the library board.Neil: What do you know about the history of the lamp poles presently at the library?Teresa: I have some...

Stories that capture the wonder and the possibilities of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are most-read in 2023

Stories that capture the wonder and the possibilities of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are most-read in 2023

As we raise a glass to embrace the new year, we look back fondly on the momentus year that was 2023 for Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and for the park we love. Thanks to your support, hard work by a growing team of passionate volunteers and by the Friends leadership team, we have a lot to celebrate. With your support we helped more people discover the islands, learn about them, and work to protect them than ever before. We set a record for membership, did more outreach trips, more programs, and successfully completed the largest initiative in our organization’s history:...

Treasures of the night: Friends to focus on protecting the night sky over the Apostle Islands in 2024 and beyond

Treasures of the night: Friends to focus on protecting the night sky over the Apostle Islands in 2024 and beyond

It begins with a faint glimmer, just a hint of brightness on the northern horizon, then builds, rising like an aria. Soon, the night sky is glowing green and red, dancing with light, shimmering like diamonds. The aurora is out. The northern lights are gleaming above the Apostle Islands. Aurora over Honeymoon Rock - Jeff Rennicke photo“To watch the white sail of a full moon gliding across the stars or see the brushstroke of the Milky Way or the flicker of northern lights painting the night sky is to witness one of true the wonders of the world, a gift of nature,” says Jeff Rennicke, Executive...

Northern lights celebrated during 6th annual Aurora Summit at Red Cliff

Northern lights celebrated during 6th annual Aurora Summit at Red Cliff

The weekend of November 3-5th saw one of North America’s largest displays of aurora borealis (northern lights) this year, visible as far south as Colorado. While clouds obscured the display in the Apostle Islands, even cloudy skies could not dampen the enthusiasm of the several hundred skywatchers gathered at the Legendary Waters Resort in Red Cliff for Aurora Summit 23.“The Aurora Chasers knocked it out of this world over the weekend at Aurora Summit 23,” said Melissa Kaelin, co-founder of the Aurora Summit, and author of Below the 45th Parallel: The Beginners Guide to Chasing the Aurora in...

“Discover the night” in the Apostle Islands during International Dark Sky Week

“Discover the night” in the Apostle Islands during International Dark Sky Week

30 miles offshore, Devils Island and Outer Island offer some incredible views of the Milky Way set in a field of innumerable stars. And if you’re very fortunate, you'll witness the spectacular northern lights dancing in some of the darkest skies in Wisconsin. The featured photo above captures the northern lights as seen from the top of the Outer Island lighthouse. In fact, most of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers great night sky viewing; night sky lovers, stargazers and photographers want to protect those views for generations to come.Milky Way over Stockton Island - Jon...

Like being inside of a diamond: Apostle Islands shimmer with northern lights

Like being inside of a diamond: Apostle Islands shimmer with northern lights

It began with just a faint rippling of light. The sun had barely set, its light still coloring the sky, but already it was clear: something special was happening.NOAA northern lights forecast - click to enlargeOn the night of March 23, 2023, the sky over the northern United States glittered in one of the strongest displays of northern lights in decades, visible as far south as northern Missouri. In the Apostle Islands, clear skies and just a sliver of moon, meant perfect viewing conditions.Our Executive Director Jeff Rennicke caught the display over the national lakeshore. “To stand beneath...

And the sky danced – northern lights put on a show in the Apostle Islands

And the sky danced – northern lights put on a show in the Apostle Islands

CRACK! The lake ice is restless tonight, crackling out in the darkness like old bones, weakened by wind and warm spring days. But I am safely on solid ground along the mainland portion of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. It is nearing midnight. The stars overhead are as bright as sparks from a campfire. But it is not lake ice or campfires that have me out this late, alone and in the cold. It is what is happening just above the ice: here in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore the northern lights are out.    Northern lights over York Island with a meteor tail on the left - Jeff...

The Apostle Islands after dark – celebrating our night sky

The Apostle Islands after dark – celebrating our night sky

If you’ve ever visited the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore after dark, you know the night sky is simply breathtaking. Against a backdrop of the darkest skies in Wisconsin, millions of stars glitter like diamonds. The core of the Milky Way comes alive as it arcs across the southern horizon during the spring and summer months. A brilliant full moon casts a beam of light across the lake. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll see the Northern Lights dance. These are all great reasons why the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore could become the next dark sky park… making it that much more...