Perhaps you’ve seen sunrise or sunset atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. But have you seen the stars that make up the Milky Way or the constellations of Sagittarius and the Teapot?
Party with the stars on Cadillac on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 8-10 p.m., and you’ll see that and more as part of the 6th annual Acadia Night Sky Festival.
Your guides to the stars – Acadia National Park rangers and local astronomers – will offer 20-minute laser-pointer shows, and staff dozens of telescopes set up on the summit.
Fiana Shapiro, an Acadia National Park ranger who is serving as one of the guides at the Star Party, says she will be showing visitors some of the constellations that can only be seen this time of year, pointing up to the dark skies with a laser pointer.
“The Summer Triangle is a big one,” says Shapiro, and once you can identify those three stars of Altair, Vega and Deneb, visible this time of year, you can identify the constellations known as the Swan (Cygnus), the Eagle (Aquila) and the Lyre (Lyra).
In addition, another constellation Shapiro will be pointing out is the Teapot, hidden within the constellation of Sagittarius. “The spout is in the Milky Way, and the Milky Way is the steam,” says Shapiro.
The Cadillac summit road will be closed to regular vehicles beginning at 6:30 p.m. for the Star Party (except for those visitors needing handicap accessibility), according to a park service news release. Park at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center for a free shuttle service, running from 7:30 – 10:30 p.m., with the last shuttle to the stars leaving at 9:30 p.m. The best stargazing is after 9 p.m., according to the park service.
No dogs are allowed at the summit for the Star Party. The Cadillac Summit gift shop and restrooms will be open. The park service suggests using a red night vision flashlight, or covering a standard one with red cellophane, to minimize impact on the stargazing. It also suggests calling 207-200-1536 to make sure weather doesn’t cancel the party.
Students from Mount Desert Island High School will be on board the shuttles to let visitors know what to expect on top of Cadillac.
Laser-pointer shows will be done from the viewing platforms off the Cadillac Summit Loop, with telescopes set up along the edge of the parking lot. You can also feel free to bring your own binoculars.
This is all weather permitting of course, and the forecast seems to be calling for clear night skies on Saturday.
Perfect weather for a Star Party on Cadillac.
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