Scheduled during the waning moon of September, the 5th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is set for September 26th through sunrise on the 30th. Residents and visitors alike will come together to help celebrate and enjoy the darkest night skies on the eastern seaboard, through education, science, and art.

The Acadia Night Sky Festival starts the evening of September 26th, continuing through sunrise on the 30th on Mount Desert Island and in the surrounding gateway communities to Acadia National Park. Lectures, workshops, art exhibits, and science related programs are on the agenda. There will be opportunities for stargazing from within the park itself throughout the festival during the nightly star parties, as well as opportunities to hear nationally renowned speakers, including local astronomers, NASA astronauts, and this year’s keynote presenter, Dr. Alex Filippenko, part of the team that won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.  Both indoor and outdoor events are planned, with highlights including, a night sky boat cruise, a chance to watch Planetarium presentation, an outdoor movie under the stars, and night sky photography workshops led by local naturalist and photographer, Bob Thayer. While many of the events are free and open to the public, some do require advance registration or a fee. A complete list of events can be found at the festival’s website http://www.acadianightskyfestival.org/

The Acadia Night Sky Festival is an extension of the collaboration of several community and government organizations, each dedicated to preserving Acadia’s night sky. The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, with its well-deserved reputation for practicing sustainable tourism is a key member of the partnership. Another crucial player and the entity to first bring attention to encroaching light pollution and its destruction of the natural beauty of the night sky is the National Park Service.  Back in 1999 a team of NPS scientists started documenting the status of night skies. Their findings ignited a plan to preserve this often overlooked yet precious natural resource.

Like Acadia, the skies over many national parks remain unobstructed by the light pollution coming from dense population centers, still mesmerizing, still creating a sense of awe in observers. On clear nights, countless points of light swirl above Mount Desert Island, a phenomenon known as the Milky Way- earth’s own galaxy, a sight that nearly two-thirds of the entire population of the Eastern Seaboard never has the chance to see! The festival offers an opportunity for many to experience the glory of a night sky for the first time. Anyone observing Acadia’s night sky awash in natural brilliance will soon understand why it is so important to celebrate and preserve it as the resource that it is.

 

The Acadia Night Sky Festival is a community celebration to promote the protection and enjoyment of Downeast & Acadia’s stellar night sky as a valuable natural resource through education, science and the arts.

 Leadership is provided by a volunteer committee of individuals and organizations including Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Acadia, Schoodic Education and Research Center, Jackson Laboratory, College of the Atlantic, Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company, and the Mount Desert Island Regional Chamber of Commerce.

 The 2013 Acadia Night Sky Festival is sponsored by Celestron Telescopes, Friends of Acadia, Jackson Laboratory, Bluenose Inn, Oli’s Trolley, Jordan Pond House, Bar Harbor Inn, and the Bar Harbor Bed & Breakfast Association.

 For a complete list of events happening throughout Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula, September 26-30, visit www.acadianightskyfestival.org.