BAR HARBOR — The 11th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is set for Sept. 25-29. The festival is a community celebration to promote the protection and enjoyment of Downeast Maine’s stellar night sky as a valuable natural resource through education, science and the arts. The festival will feature dozens of events, including workshops, lectures, films, boat cruises, arts and crafts and, of course, stargazing.
This year’s keynote event is a talk by Jackie Faherty on “The Milky Way as You’ve Never Seen It Before,” Friday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Criterion.
Faherty is senior scientist and senior education manager, jointly, in the Department of Astrophysics and the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. She is working at the forefront of brown dwarf and exoplanet atmosphere detection and characterization.
Faherty is continually striving to create more opportunities for underrepresented minorities to enter STEM fields through unique outreach endeavors.
On Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., Steve Larson, the senior staff scientist with The Catalina Sky Survey, will give his talk “Active Asteroids.” Larson will explain what the asteroids and comets around earth are doing. The Catalina Sky Survey is a NASA-funded project supported by the Near Earth Object Observation Program under the Planetary Defense Coordination Office based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Ariz. The miss of the Sky Survey is to discover and track near-Earth objects (NEOs) in an effort to meet the congressional mandate to catalogue at least 90 percent of the estimated population of NEOs larger than 140 meters, some of which classify as potentially hazardous asteroids which pose an impact threat to Earth.
Stars will pop up in celebration of Acadia Night Sky festival in a greeting card workshop with local paper artist Sherry Rasmussen at ART on West, 78 West Street, Bar Harbor on Thursday, Sept. 26, 6:30 to 8 pm. Ages 12 and over.
$10 fee is donated to the festival.
Call 288-9428 to reserve.
On Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., Don Davis will discuss the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing at the Jesup Memorial Library.
He will speak about what this “giant leap for mankind” meant. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969. Apollo 11 achieved its primary mission — to perform a manned lunar landing and return the mission safely to Earth — and paved the way for the Apollo lunar landing missions to follow.
The Cadillac Mountain Star Party is set for Saturday, Sept. 28 from 8-11 p.m. Participants must reserve parking for their vehicles at Mount Desert Island High School and ride a shuttle to Cadillac Mountain.
Participants are invited to drop in at any time during the ongoing program to visit with more than 50 volunteer astronomers and park rangers who will describe constellations and other celestial objects visible with the naked eye and telescopes.
The best star-viewing time will be after 9 p.m. Participants are free to stroll the summit and spend as much time as they like at the star party.
Parking for the event is only available at Mount Desert Island High School (1081 Eagle Lake Road, Bar Harbor) by ticketed reservation. Limited reservations are only available online on a first-come, first-served basis for $5 per vehicle.
Reservations are nonrefundable if the event is canceled for any reason (including weather) or if a reservation holder is unable to attend. No over-sized vehicles (including RVs, school buses, motor coaches, and vehicles with trailers) will be permitted to park at the high school.
To reserve a parking space, visit acadianightskyfestival.org/calendar/cadillac-mountain-star-party.
Parking anywhere along Eagle Lake Road will be prohibited. Parking at the Cadillac Mountain summit is only available for vehicles with people with disabilities (no reservations required). Cadillac Mountain Road will be closed to all other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists at 6:45 p.m.
Starting at 7:30 p.m., the shuttle will run continuously between Mount Desert Island High School and Cadillac Mountain. The line for boarding the shuttle will form in the high school gym, and restrooms will be available. The last shuttle will depart Mount Desert Island High School at 9:30 p.m., and the last shuttle will depart Cadillac Mountain at 11:15 p.m. Shuttle riders should plan on approximately 20 minutes to travel to summit or back to high school. Please note that pets, coolers, folding chairs, and tripods are not allowed on the shuttle since space is very limited.
Participants are encouraged to dress warmly and minimize flashlight use to preserve night vision. If available, visitors should use a red night vision flashlight or cover a standard flashlight with red cellophane.
The Summit Center gift shop and restrooms at the top of Cadillac Mountain will be open during the event.
Call 387-0807 to find out if this event has been cancelled due to weather.
A full day of events on Sunday, Sept. 29 at the Jesup library.
In the morning, there will be two planetarium shows at the library. Northern Stars Planetarium brings the stars inside with their star dome, which they set up, in the middle of the library. The first show at 9 a.m. is “Our Family in the Sky,” which is suitable for children in kindergarten through second grade. During the show, a personified Mr. Sun leads attendees through a tour of the solar system and introduces them to planets, comets, asteroids, the Moon and a constellation.
The second show at 10:30 a.m. is “A World of Sky Stories” and is suitable for children in grades three through six. During this show, attendees will hear legends told about the stars and the night sky from Australian Aborigines, Inuit (Eskimo), African Tribes, the Orient, the rainforests of South America and more. While both of these talks are geared towards children, they are open to everyone. Each talk is limited to 55 people and once the show starts no one else can be admitted.
At 1 p.m. Margaret Geller will talk about her time researching cosmic web. The cosmic web is a network formed by all of the galaxies in the Universe and the web-like strands that link them together. Geller will describe her role in discovering these patterns in the nearby universe and her ongoing work to map the way they evolve over the history of the universe. Geller is a Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and which is part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
At 2:45 p.m., Lance Benner, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss near-earth asteroids and the radar imaging being done using the Goldstone System Radar and the Arecibo Observatory. Benner has worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1998.
Finally, at 4 p.m. there will be a talk with Bob Reichman. “During this stellar conversation, get a better appreciation for where we fit among the stars. Learn more about some of the big concepts of the universe including time, size and scale, phases, eclipse and tides, rotation vs. revolution, astronomical units, light years and more,” said event organizers.
For a complete schedule and description of activities, visit acadianightskyfestival.org.