PATTEN – Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters and Dark Sky Maine will be hosting the seventh annual Stars Over Katahdin event virtually on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. The Zoom webinar will highlight the night skies of the Katahdin Region with presentations on planets, constellations, cultural stories and efforts to preserve the dark skies. This is the first Stars Over Katahdin event since Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was designated by the International Dark Sky Association as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary on the eastern seaboard.
“Because there’s so little light pollution in our National Monument, this remote, beautiful place offers visitors inspiration around the clock in all four seasons,” said Andrew Bossie, executive director of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters.
The annual event, which typically takes place in Katahdin Woods and Waters with campfire stories and night sky interpretation from volunteer astronomers and their powerful telescopes, has grown in popularity over the years. “While we can’t gather as we have in years past, we’re excited to bring this incredible resource to folks in their homes in hopes that they will venture out themselves,” continued Bossie.
The evening’s webinar will feature presentations from John Meader (owner and educator at Northern Stars Planetarium, secretary of Dark Sky Maine), Shawn Laatsch (director of Emera Astronomy Center), John Dennis (cultural coordinator of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs) and Kelley Beatty (former board member at the International Dark Sky Association). There will also be live music from Colin Cassie (local musician and president of Dark Sky Maine) and Larry Berz (planetarium director of the Francis Malcolm Science Center Planetarium). The event is sponsored by Maine Beer Company, Richardson’s Hardware and L.L. Bean.
“This annual event is only a harbinger of what is to come in 2024 when the Katahdin region is directly in the path of totality for a solar eclipse,” said Tim Hudson, National Park Service superintendent at Katahdin Woods and Waters. “The towns and businesses in the region are already preparing for an influx of what is expected to be hundreds of thousands of people coming to view the eclipse.”
For those interested in learning more about the dark skies of Katahdin Woods and Waters, registration is open for Stars Over Katahdin at friendsofkww.org/stars.