Planetary geologist Daniel Krysak, who is currently working on both the Mars Curiosity Rover and the Juno mission to Jupiter, will give two talks as part of the Acadia Night Sky Festival next week. On Friday, Sept. 22, he will discuss the Juno mission at the Southwest Harbor American Legion Hall at 5 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 23, he will talk about Mars at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor at 11 a.m. PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA

Night Sky Festival on the horizon



BAR HARBOR — The ninth annual Acadia Night Sky Festival, five days of events and activities around Mount Desert Island celebrating the age-old human affinity for pondering the stars and planets and people’s place in them, begins Sept. 20.

Events include outdoor “star parties,” lectures, demonstrations and hands-on activities from art workshops to night kayaking. There are chances to learn from and with scientists, park rangers, photographers, artists and more.

This year’s keynote presentation, from science writer Dava Sobel, is set for The Criterion Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 6:30 p.m. She will tell stories from her most recent book, “The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars.” These pioneering women, recruited for cut-rate wages to work in the observatory in the early 1900s, left their mark on astronomy. Their classifications are still used today.

Sobel also is the author of bestsellers “Longitude” and “Galileo’s Daughter.” She’s a former staff writer for the New York Times and has been a regular contributor to “Harvard Magazine,” “Audubon,” “Discover,” “Life,” “Omni,” “The New Yorker” and “Aeon.” She has won awards from the National Science Board, the Boston Museum of Science and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for increasing public understanding of science.

Immediately following the presentation, from 8-10 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with Sobel, as well as other festival presenters, astronomers and Acadia Night Sky Festival volunteers. Admission is free.

Festivalgoers also will have an opportunity to meet Sobel at a lunch gathering at Galyn’s on Main Street in Bar Harbor on Saturday at noon. The luncheon costs $35 per person and is limited to 40 diners.

Star parties

Nighttime gatherings with rangers, local astronomers and volunteers, known as “star parties,” are among the most popular events in the festival.

The first is set for Thursday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. Star partiers will gaze at Acadia’s night sky as a park ranger takes them on a tour of the stars, complete with stories and science.

The party will move to the Seawall Picnic Area on Route 201A in Manset Friday, Sept. 22, from 8-10 p.m. Parking will be at Seawall Campground (D Loop). Before this star party, Jan Hoey will present “The Real Dancing with the Stars: What’s up Tonight?” beginning at 7 p.m.

The Cadillac Mountain Star Party will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 8-11 p.m. Volunteer astronomers will point out constellations and other night sky features. Parking at MDI High School for free shuttle service begins at 7:30 p.m. Parking at the summit is restricted to handicapped access only. No pets or folding chairs. Buses will be heated (if needed). The Summit Center gift shop and restrooms at the top of Cadillac Mountain will be open during the event.

For all the star parties, organizers recommend dressing warmly and wearing comfortable shoes. Minimize flashlight use and use a red night vision flashlight or cover a standard flashlight with red cellophane (volunteers will provide cellophane if needed). No pets are allowed at any of the star parties.

Night sky cruises

On Sept. 20, 22 and 23, from 6:30-9 p.m., an “Under the Stars” boat cruise will be offered by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch, 1 West St., Bar Harbor. Guests will cruise Frenchman Bay aboard the 130-foot catamaran Atlanticat.

John Bear Mitchell, University of Maine professor of Wabanaki and multicultural studies, will share Maine native stories about the night sky. Whale watch naturalist Zack Klyver will discuss the principles of celestial navigation. Local expert naturalist and amateur astronomer Lynn Havsall will identify and describe constellations, planets, stars and distant galaxies.

Passengers will look at the night sky while listening to star-themed music, including the themes to “Superman” and “ET,” “Bolero” by Ravel and selections from “Star Wars” by John Williams.

The trips are weather dependent. Boarding begins at 6 p.m. For pricing and reservations, call 288-2386. Trips are limited to 150.

Wednesday, Sept. 20

Celestial printmaking

From 6-8 p.m., ArtWaves will offer a Print and Sip art workshop using gelli plates, papers and colored inks at their Town Hill studio, 1345A Route 102. The workshop costs $40 per person and is limited to 20. Register at ArtWaves.org.

Night sky photography

Maine Media Workshops and College instructors Nate Levesque and Jim Nickelson will share their professional work and expertise in night sky photography at the Moore Auditorium at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor at 7 p.m.

Levesque is a freelance photographer based out of Hampden, His work was featured on the 2016 Acadia Night Sky Festival poster. His images have been featured in “Astronomy Magazine” and “National Geographic Travel Magazine.” His night sky work has won contests with Canon and the National Parks Foundation. Nickelson is a photographer whose work asks how humans grapple with the unknown and their relationship to the universe, particularly in scientific ways. Free. Call 288-1310.

Thursday, Sept. 21

Star art for kids

From 3:45-5:30 p.m., Artwaves will host an after-school art workshop suitable for children in grades two and up. Instructors will guide participants in making star books and stained glass mosaics. The workshop, which costs $10 per person, also is offered Friday afternoon.

Milky Way

Richard Luecke will give a talk about “Cruising the Milky Way” at the Northeast Harbor Library from 4-5 p.m. Audience members will take an image-enhanced journey along the Milky Way’s pale river of starlight from Perseus to Sagittarius, learn about the size of our galaxy, how it was formed, and how its spectacular star clusters, glowing nebulae and more can be located with binoculars or a modest telescope. Free.

Friday, Sept. 22

Circadian rhythms

At 12 p.m., Samer Hattar will present “The Biology of Light” at the Jackson Laboratory Auditorium, 600 Main St., in Bar Harbor. Audiences will hear how the eyes interact with the brain to control circadian rhythms and sleep, as well as how irregular light exposure could lead to mood changes. They also will learn how to best use the light environment to enhance their circadian clock alignment, sleep and mood. Free.

Solar eyes

From 1:30-3 p.m., amateur astronomers and Acadia National Park rangers will lead safe solar viewing through a variety of specially equipped telescopes on the Bar Harbor Village Green. Free.

YWCA talks

At 2:30 p.m., Richard Luecke will present “Autumn Night Sky Highlights: A Baker’s Dozen Spectacular Objects” at the YWCA, 36 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor. Festivalgoers will take an image-enhanced visit to 13 amazing objects: double stars and star clusters, glowing nebulae, ghostly remnants of dead suns, distant galaxies and ringed Saturn. They also will learn what science says about these distant objects. Free.

At 3:30 p.m., Jon Thomas will answer the question “Why is the Sky Dark at Night?” During both day and night, the Earth is bombarded with light from stars throughout the universe. So, why isn’t the night sky as brilliant as the sun? This talk explores the development of ancient and modern concepts of the cosmos. Free.

Jupiter

At 5 p.m., Daniel Krysak will present “Exploring Jupiter” at the American Legion Hall, 22 Village Green Way, Southwest Harbor. The talk is sponsored by the Southwest Harbor Library. Guests will see the various images acquired from the Juno Cam and learn how they can engage with the camera system on the spacecraft. Free.

Capturing night sky

From 6-10 p.m., Brent Ander will lead a “Capturing the Night Sky” photo workshop at Rockefeller Hall at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor.

This workshop, for amateurs to pros, will examine astro-landscape photography, night photography and light painting. Attendees should have the required equipment and understand the requirements. Depending on the weather, the group will gather on the coast at Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park and photograph the Milky Way galactic span over the Atlantic Ocean where the skies along the U.S. east coast are darkest. Light painting and various techniques for achieving powerful night images will be explored. The class costs $75 per person and is limited to 15. Register at anderphotography.com.

Sea stars

At 6:30 p.m., Sherry Rasmussen will lead a sea star-making workshop at the studio upstairs from Art on West, 78 West St., Bar Harbor. Participants will create a star from folded paper. It can be folded wet or dry for different effects. Grades six and up. A $10 festival donation is suggested. Reservations required. Call 288-9428.

Thayer photo workshop

From 6:30-9:30 p.m., Bob Thayer will lead a photography workshop at the Jesup Memorial Library, 34 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor. Capturing the beauty of Acadia’s night sky is the focus of this workshop, appropriate for any photographer with a camera that can be set to manual, a lens that can be manually focused and a tripod. After a brief classroom session, the workshop will move into the park to experiment with settings and composition. Light painting also is part of the workshop. The workshop costs $75 per person. Reservations are required. Register at bobthayerphoto.com.

Celestial cinema

At 7 p.m., the hilarious sci-fi spoof “Galaxy Quest” will be screened outdoors in Agamont Park in Bar Harbor, courtesy of Reel Pizza. Participants should bring chairs or a blanket to sit on. Free.

 Saturday, Sept. 23

ArtWaves events

From 9-10 a.m., ArtWaves will host a kids’ art workshop where participants can create a star book with wax resist, a technique in which a wax coating is used to block out areas of ink or paint. The workshop costs $10 per person.

From 1-3 p.m., ArtWaves will offer a family-friendly workshop using glow-in-the-dark paints. Participants’ creations can be printed on banners and bags to take with them. The workshop is suited for all ages, costs $10 per person or $16 for two and is limited to 20. Register at ArtWaves.org.

From 4-6 p.m., visitors to ArtWaves happy hour will sip and sample the media offerings in paint, glass and ink. Sippers must be 21 or older. This costs $40 per person and is limited to 20. ArtWaves members get a $10 discount. Register at ArtWaves.org.

Dark skies

At 10 a.m., J. Kelly Beatty will discuss “Darkness in Distress” at the Northeast Harbor Library. For decades, civilization has stolen stars from the nighttime skies, but this loss does not have to be permanent. This talk will show how light pollution can be reversed to restore the night sky’s beauty with safe, energy-smart lighting solutions for our 24/7 society. Free

Rock stars

At 10:30 a.m., Barn Arts Collective artistic directors Andrew Simon and Brittany Parker will present their original family-friendly play “Rock Stars of the Milky Way” at the YWCA at 36 Mount Desert St. in Bar Harbor. Free.

JAX events 

From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., solar viewing will be held on the front lawn of The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor. In the event of rain, demonstrations will take place indoors.

At 11 a.m., Daniel Krysak will discuss the NASA Curiosity Rover program in the laboratory auditorium. The program will give an in-depth look at the various cameras on board Curiosity Rover, their different functions, images the rover team has acquired, and what a typical day working with the rover is like.

At 12 p.m., Jon Thomas will present “Placing Humans on Mars,” exploring the hazards and obstacles that astronauts face as they journey to, explore and return from the red planet.

At 1 p.m., J. Kelly Beatty will speak on “The Sputnik Years.” The retrospective will explore the events leading up to Sputnik’s launch on Oct. 4, 1957, the political fallout that led to America’s response, the formation of NASA and the crucial role that amateur astronomers played in tracking the first satellites.

At 2 p.m., Edward Gleason will make a presentation called “A Remote Mirror Pool” that will touch on the philosophy of the planetarium (Why do we exist?) and find answers to basic questions of the universe (What is the sun, and what makes it rise each morning?) Free.

Capturing night sky

From 6-10 p.m., Brent Ander will lead a “Capturing the Night Sky” photography workshop at Rockefeller Hall at the Schoodic Institute.

This workshop, for amateurs to pros, will examine astro-landscape photography, night photography and light painting. Attendees should have the required equipment and understand the requirements. Depending on the weather, the group will gather on the coast at Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park and photograph the Milky Way galactic span over the Atlantic Ocean where the skies along the U.S. east coast are darkest. Light painting and various techniques for achieving powerful night images will be explored. The class costs $75 per person and is limited to 15. Register at anderphotography.com.

Thayer photo workshop

At 6:30 p.m., Bob Thayer will lead a photography workshop at the Jesup Memorial Library. Capturing the beauty of Acadia’s night sky is the focus of this workshop, appropriate for any photographer with a camera that can be set to manual, a lens that can be manually focused and a tripod. After a brief classroom session, the workshop will move into the park to experiment with settings and composition. Light painting also is part of the workshop. The workshop costs $75 per person. Reservations are required. Register at bobthayerphoto.com.

‘Eye to the Sky’

At 7 p.m., Acadia Astronomy volunteer Bob Reichman will be at the MDI High School auditorium to share easy-to-find shapes, constellations and “anchor” stars in the night sky and help participants make sense of it all. Participants will learn to navigate by the stars and take home a free star finder for stellar family fun. Free.

Sunday, Sept. 24

Sky brunch

From 9-11:30 a.m., a “Popover and Meet the Astronomer Brunch” will take place at the Common Good Soup Kitchen, 19 Clark Point Road, Southwest Harbor. By donation.

Jesup library events

From 9-10 a.m., John Meader of Northern Stars Planetarium will lead “Our Family in the Sky,” a fun family program using a portable planetarium set up in the library. With the help of cartoon personality Mr. Sun, this event gives a basic understanding of the differences between the nine planets in the solar system. This show is suited for children in kindergarten through second grade. No admittance after the show begins. The program is limited to 55. Free.

From 10:15-11:15 a.m., Meader will lead a program “Exploring Our Solar System.” A portable planetarium will be set up inside the library so participants can explore the latest discoveries about the planets, asteroids and the Sun. This show is suited for children grades three through six. No admittance after the show begins. Limited to 55. Free.

From 1-2:30 p.m., Dava Sobel will give an author talk and sign books. This award-winning science writer, bestselling author and Acadia Night Sky Festival keynote speaker will talk about her work, including the books “Longitude,” “Galileo’s Daughter,” “The Planets,” “A More Perfect Heaven” and her latest book, “The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars.” Books will be on sale during this event, and there will be a book signing afterward. Free.

From 1-3 p.m., ArtWaves will lead a “Paint the Universe” family-friendly workshop at the library. Participants will stamp, stencil and paint what their universe looks like in this make-and-take workshop. A $10 donation to the festival is suggested. Register at ArtWaves.org.

From 2:30-3:30 p.m., Edward Gleason will give a talk titled “It’s not as Though We’re Going to Visit Any of These Places.” Astronomy engages the mind and captivates the soul. The universe has exercised a deep fascination over humanity since people developed the ability to distinguish between soil and sunshine. This talk will ask the question, “Why do we care so ardently?” Free.

At 3:45 p.m., Bob Reichman will talk about “Our Magnetic Sun.” Participants will learn the Sun’s stellar story and about its inner workings and far-reaching effects, as well as see a line-of-totality photo summary of August’s solar eclipse. If the skies cooperate, participants will safely sun gaze with an h-alpha scope and look for solar prominences or sunspots. Free.

The universe in glass

From 7-10 p.m., ArtWaves will host a stained glass mosaic workshop. Participants 13 and up will learn to cut, grind and fit stained glass. The workshop costs $30 per person.

Nighttime paddle

Wednesday through Sunday, from 7-10 p.m., Castine Kayak, 17 Sea St., Castine, will lead a bioluminescent and stargazing paddle. Participants will paddle in Castine Harbor under a blanket of stars and in the midst of bioluminescent organisms that swirl and light up in the water with every paddle stroke. Castine’s Harbor is a unique ecosystem that creates the perfect environment for these glow-in-the-dark phytoplankton to survive and multiply. The constellations of the night sky immersed in the bioluminescent stars of the water will be explored.

$55 per person. Call 866-3506 or visit www.castinekayak.com for reservations and days available.

 

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Liz Graves is managing editor of the Islander. She's a California native who came to Maine as a schooner sailor.[email protected]
Liz Graves

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