Tag Archives: acadia-night-sky-festival

Acadia fall foliage just one focus of rest of Centennial year

The days are shorter, the nights chillier, and Acadia fall foliage is getting ready to put on its spectacular color show. The season to visit Acadia National Park has been gradually getting longer, and this year, Centennial events promise to make the fall – and even winter – busier than ever.

With about 100 days left in the Centennial year, and Acadia fall foliage still to peak, among the major events and projects featuring the park still on the calendar:

treasured lands

QT Luong, whose large-format photographs of all of America’s national parks was featured in Ken Burns’s and Dayton Duncan’s PBS series, has a new book coming out on Oct. 1 in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. The book includes a section on Acadia. Pre-orders placed by Oct. 1 eligible for special offers. (Image courtesy of QT Luong)

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Good place for stargazing in Acadia? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our new page linking in one place all the Q&As.

I will be there in early November. Are there any specific areas to set up my telescope at night. Thank you. Les

Dear Les,

You must be an avid stargazer to come to Acadia National Park in November! While it’ll be chilly this time of year, there will be fewer people – but just as many constellations for stargazing in Acadia, and the possibility of even more special celestial events than usual when the Northern Lights are visible from about November to February.

stargazing in acadia

The aurorora borealis, or Northern Lights, may be visible in Acadia through Nov. 12, 2015, according to AccuWeather.

Through Nov. 12, it may be possible to see the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, in Acadia, although reports from last night, Nov. 3, suggest it’s not as brilliant a show as it was earlier in the year. The shimmering lights created by the geomagnetic storm may even be visible as far south as Virginia and West Virginia, in locations far away from city lights and under clear night skies, according to AccuWeather.

And if you don’t catch the Northern Lights, Les, tonight and tomorrow night, Nov. 4-5, should be peak viewing opportunities for the South Taurid meteor shower, according to EarthSky.org. The North Taurid meteor shower kicks in later this month, close to the new moon. While the Taurids aren’t known for a high number of meteors, they are well-known for fireballs, or unusually bright meteors. Continue reading

Acadia night sky makes news, draws festival, photographers

Maybe it’s the streetlights of the cities and towns they come from, or the lit-up screens of tablets and smartphones of today’s technology, but at Acadia National Park, 90 percent of visitors surveyed said the park service should help preserve the night sky, according to a new study.

acadia night sky

The official poster for the 2015 Acadia Night Sky Festival features the original painting “Starry Night Over Acadia,” by Bar Harbor artist Katherine Noble Churchill.

The report, published in the journal Park Science just days before the 7th annual Acadia Night Sky Festival begins, suggests it’s not just daytime landscapes and seascapes that attract people to Acadia and other of America’s national parks. It’s also the night views of stars, moon, Milky Way or even Northern Lights.

Calling night skies “a “new” park resource,” the report hit the national news media over the Labor Day weekend, under such headlines as “Twinkle, Twinkle: National Park Visitors Want Starry Views,” and “Sick of Light Pollution? Head to a National Park, Study Says.”

While the headlines focused on national parks being one of the last bastions of dark night sky and the need to protect it, getting scant coverage is the fact that the study is based on two surveys at Acadia National Park, of campers and visitors to 7 of the park’s major attractions.

So perhaps it should be, “Sick of Light Pollution? Head to Acadia National Park.”

No matter the headlines, “Night skies are increasingly recognized as an important resource – biologically, culturally, and experientially – in the national parks,” conclude Robert Manning, professor and director of the Park Studies Laboratory at the University of Vermont, and his co-authors. “This study documents this importance to national park visitors.”

For the stargazers, astronomy buffs and night-sky photography aficionados heading to Acadia and surrounding communities for the Sept. 10-14 night sky festival, here are highlights of festival events, and tips from professional photographers for capturing the stars for the memory book.

Stars over Jordan Pond

Stars over Jordan Pond and the Bubbles. All rights reserved, Brent L. Ander.

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Planning a visit to Acadia in August? Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park helped prove the Ice Age

Ask Acadia on My Mind!

Another in a series of “Ask Acadia on My Mind!” Q&As

If you have a question about Acadia National Park on your mind, whether you’re a first-time visitor or long-time fan, leave a comment below, or contact us through the About us page. We may not be able to answer every question, or respond right away, but we’ll do our best. See our new page linking in one place all the Q&As.

1) I will be in Bar Harbor August 10-12. Are there any special events in Acadia for the Perseid meteor showers? – I.D.

2) I’m excited to be visiting Acadia with my fiancee this coming August 3-4, for the first time in about 15 years. We’re planning to make the most of our short visit by packing it full of some of Acadia’s best hikes. We’d been hoping to be able to climb the Precipice Trail, but I have since learned that it’s usually closed through August for falcon nesting. Any chance of it opening back up a little early this year? If not, what are some similar alternatives you’d suggest that would be open? Beehive? Jordan Cliffs Trail? We are both experienced hikers, and do not expect anything in Acadia to be beyond our skill/fitness levels. – Dave

Cobblestone Bridge in Acadia National Park

The Cobblestone Bridge in Acadia National Park is a scenic spot.

3) First, thank you for this Q&A. It is incredibly helpful as I’m researching for my first trip in August! I’m also getting married so my friend, who is on this trip, will help take some engagement photos. I’m hoping to have some shoots at Cadillac Mountain (sunrise/sunset), Thunder Hole, Bass Harbor, the stone bridges… do you have any other recommendations that would make a great shoot? Thank you! -Q

Dear I.D., Dave and Q,

Thanks for asking such diverse questions about the trips you each are planning to Acadia in August! It just goes to show how much Acadia National Park has to offer, no matter what your interests. Continue reading

Party with the stars on Cadillac in Acadia National Park

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?

Summer Triangle constellation

Map of the Summer Triangle constellation (via Wikimedia Commons)

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). Continue reading

Look, up in the sky – endless stars over Acadia National Park!

The days are glorious in Acadia National Park, but so are the star-filled nights.

Acadia Night Sky Festival

The official poster for the 6th annual Acadia Night Sky Festival. (Photo by Nathan Levesque)

Acadia, with the darkest skies along the US eastern seaboard, is where the thousands of stars making up the Milky Way can be seen, something that two-thirds of US residents can’t view at home because of city lights.

All you need to do is look up on a dark, clear night, and you’ll be starstruck in Acadia, as our nieces were in recent visits, Stacey at Thunder Hole, and Sharon and Michelle at the ranger-led Stars Over Sand Beach program.

To celebrate in celestial style, Acadia National Park, the Friends of Acadia, Schoodic Institute, local chambers of commerce and more than a dozen businesses and organizations, are holding one big party Sept. 25 – Sept. 29, the 6th annual Acadia Night Sky Festival.

Among the more than 30 events planned: Star parties, night hikes, kid-friendly activities, a boat cruise, movies and scientific and literary presentations, and bioluminescent canoe paddles.

But it’s not just another festival to help boost the Downeast Maine economy in between the busy summer and peak foliage seasons.

It’s also an important reminder of how dark skies are a dwindling resource around the world, affecting astronomy, ecosystems and even human circadian rhythms. And it helps highlight the estimated $2 billion a year being wasted with unnecessary lighting in the US alone, a statistic publicized by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), a non-profit founded in 1988 to reduce light pollution. Continue reading