BAR HARBOR — The 7th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival kicks off on Sept. 10 and once again will explore and celebrate the starlit skies of Down East Maine. Dark night skies in our region lend themselves to the ultimate stargazing experience.
The festival, which showcases the beauty of the night sky through education, science and art workshops, lectures and parties, is geared towards families and astronomers alike and is a great way for residents and visitors to celebrate and promote the protection of the night skies while enjoying speakers, workshops, solar viewings, hikes and more.
The festival starts with a presentation by keynote speaker John A. Grant III, a geologist at the Center for Earth & Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum. Grant will present “Exploring Mars with the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity Rovers.” Following Grant’s presentation, attendees may enjoy the “Stars Over Sand Beach” event, where attendees can gaze at Acadia’s amazing night sky and learn about constellations guided by an Acadia National Park ranger.
Other events include a sip and paint event, photography classes taught in the park, star parties allowing viewers to get up-close and personal with constellations and other night sky features, and a viewing of “The Astronaut Farmer” at the Celestial Cinema in Agamont Park. There also will be book signings and a variety of children’s activities.
In addition to Grant, there will be many other speakers at the festival, including Dan Barry, former NASA astronaut and veteran of three space flights, four spacewalks and two trips to the international space station, and Alisdair Davey from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Other events include an under-the-stars boat cruise with Abbe Museum educator and Wabanaki storyteller George Neptune, bioluminescent night paddles in Castine and solar viewing at The Jackson Laboratory.
The 2015 Acadia Night Sky Festival is presented by Celestron. Additional support comes from Friends of Acadia, Bar Harbor Whale Watch, Bluenose Inn, Cape Air and Witham Family Hotels.