8th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival

For Immediate Release 
August 11, 2016 

Contact:
Alf Anderson, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce 
207-801-2566, ext. 13; alf@barharborinfo.com

BAR HARBOR, Maine - Bar Harbor is one of the best places in the world where novice and advanced astronomers alike can take in the majestic Milky Way and enjoy skies dark enough for unlimited stargazing. The Acadia Night Sky Festival is the perfect time to visit and take in the starry night sky. Events take place September 22-25, in and around Acadia National Park. 

Acadia Night Sky Festival poster 2016
Downeast Maine is one of the last places with skies dark enough for stargazing. Photo credit: Nathan Levesque

The festival is geared toward families and astronomers and is a great way for locals and visitors to celebrate and promote the protection of the night sky while enjoying nationally recognized speakers, workshops, solar viewings, hikes and more. Acadia National Park and Downeast Maine are home to stellar night skies that afford viewers the opportunity to see the clearest star-filled horizons in the eastern U.S. Due to light pollution, it is nearly impossible to see stars in many parts of the country.

The Saturday, September 24, star party atop Cadillac Mountain is the festival's most popular event. Telescopes will be available for guests to use and volunteer astronomers will be on hand to point out constellations and other celestial objects. To keep the skies as dark as possible, guests will take the free shuttle ride from Mount Desert Island High School to Cadillac Mountain. A second star party will be held at the Seawall Campground picnic area on Friday night, September 23.

On Thursday, September 22, keynote speaker Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, will present "Discarded Worlds: Astronomical ideas that were almost correct..." His keynote will explore lessons 21st century astronomers take from those discarded ideas. Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, a brother in the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus, has worked since 1993 as an astronomer and meteorite specialist at the Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory), located in the Papal summer gardens outside Rome. Since 2014, he has been president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation and, in September 2015, he was named director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope Francis. A cocktail party at the Abbe Museum will follow his presentation.

Other events taking place during the festival include night sky photography classes, Under-the-Stars boat cruises, guided kayak tours under the stars, a sip-and-print event, entertaining and educational lectures, and more.

In addition to Br. Consolmagno, SJ, there will also be many nationally recognized speakers at the festival. Dr. Randy Nelson, chairman for the Department of Neuroscience at the Ohio State University Medical Center, will present the annual "Biology of Light" lecture at Jackson Laboratory. Michael Bennett, a NASA team member, will discuss "Astronomy from 45,000 Feet," and how and why NASA converted a huge Boeing 747 aircraft to carry a research-grade telescope into the stratosphere several nights a week.

The 2016 Acadia Night Sky Festival is presented by Celestron. Additional support comes from Bar Harbor Whale Watch, Bluenose Inn, Cape Air, Friends of Acadia, Machias Savings Bank, Northeast Charter, Oli's Trolley and Witham Family Hotels.

For a complete listing of events happening during the 8th annual Acadia Night Sky Festival, visit www.acadianightskyfestival.org. For travel information to the area, visit www.visitbarharbor.com.

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Editor's Note: Click on the image above or the link below to access downloadable versions.

Acadia Night Sky Festival

About Acadia Night Sky Festival
The Acadia Night Sky Festival is a community celebration to promote the protection and enjoyment of Downeast and Acadia's stellar night sky as a valuable natural resource through education, science and the arts.

Leadership is provided by a volunteer committee of individuals and organizations including: Abbe Museum, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Acadia, Jackson Laboratory, Jesup Memorial Library and Mount Desert Island High School.

The 2016 Acadia Night Sky Festival is presented by Celestron. Additional support comes from Friends of Acadia, Bar Harbor Whale Watch, Bluenose Inn, Cape Air, Friends of Acadia, Machias Savings Bank, Northeast Charter, Oli's Trolley and Witham Family Hotels.