Maine Starlight Festival, an astronomical weekend of events

Star parties, UFO footage, night hikes and sun celebrations. Maine’s second annual Maine Starlight Festival is not to be missed. The festival has been underway since Sept. 7 and runs through Sept. 19, and the final weekend is an explosion of cosmic events. The festival coincides with the Acadia Night Sky Festival, which runs Sept. 13-17.

This Maine Starlight Festival is a statewide celebration is to promote the enjoyment and protection of Maine’s night sky as a valuable natural resource through science, education and the arts — and a whole lot of fun. And the Acadia Night Sky Festival is the same thing, but focused on Downeast Acadia’s night sky.

The many scheduled events are an opportunity to explore the sky with neighbors, but also local astronomers, rangers, authors and filmmakers. Events include a star party on the top of Cadillac Mountain, a family-friendly celebration of the sun, a presentation on Thoreau’s writings on the stars and a starlit picnic with costumes and ice cream.

Events:

Thursday, Sept. 13:

SOUTHWEST HARBOR – “Hoo’s that Calling in the Night?” movies and stories about owls, 1-3 p.m. at 4 Herrick Rd. Reservations required. $5 for adults, $2 for children 5-12, free for children under 5. Call 244-7555.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR – “Nebulae: A Backyard Cosmology,” author talk by Dana Wilde, 5:30-7 p.m. at Southwest Harbor Public Library, 338 Main St.

BANGOR - An evening of fun and learning for families with children ages 3-12, 6-8 p.m. at Challenger Learning Center, 30 Venture Way. Will feature a variety of indoor activity stations including an inflatable planetarium, “Match that Constellation” game and display of telescopes. Suggested donation is $3. RSVP at 990-2900, ext. 1.

BANGOR – Stargazing with the Penobscot Valley Stargazers club, 10 p.m. at Challenger Learning Center, 30 Venture Way. Weather permitting.

BAR HARBOR – “He Lani Ko Luna, He Honua Ko Lalo; Sky Above, Earth Below,” presentation by associate director and navigator in residence at the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii and captain and navigator of Hawaiian deep-sea voyage canoes, 7-8:30 p.m. at Jackson Laboratory, 600 Main St. Call 404-2921.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – “Stars Over Sand Beach,” 8-9 p.m., meet at Sand Beach – Park Loop Road south of the entrance station. Free. Dress warmly. For information, call 288-8832.

Friday, Sept. 14:

BAR HARBOR – Starlab Planetarium, 2-5 p.m., MDI YMCA, 21 Park St. Programs are limited to 30 people every 30 minutes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Call 288-8832.

BAR HARBOR – “Picnic with the Planets,” dine amongst the planets and learn a few facts, 5:30-9 p.m., Village Green, corner of Main St. and Mt. Desert St. Bring your picnic dinner. For more adventure, wear a costume and receive a free scoop of ice cream from Mount Desert Island Ice Cream. Around 7 p.m., settle into watch a film on an outdoor movie screen, with free popcorn from Camden National Bank. Film TBD. For information, call 404-2921, ext. 802.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR – “Astronomy 101: Exploring the Night Sky,” presentation by Ron Thompson of the Southern Maine Astronomers, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Common Good Soup Kitchen’s Cafe, 566 Seawall Rd. Suggested donation is $7 per person, $12 for a couple, and $15 for families. Cafe is open for dinner from 5:30-7:30. For information, call 288-8832.

GREENVILLE – “Got Stars Weekend” events, 7-10 p.m. at Gorman Chairback Lodge. Reservations required. Visit www.starlightfestival.org/Events/amcchairback.html.

BAR HARBOR – “Inder the Stars” boat cruise, 7-9 p.m. at Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., Harbor Place, 1 West St. Learn stories behind the constellations, planets and moons. Features several engaging presentations, as well as a full galley and bar. Limited to 125 passengers. Cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $15 for juniors (ages 6-14), $10 for children (5 and younger). To reserve, call 288-2386 or 1-800-942-5374. Rain date: Saturday, Sept. 15.

WINTER HARBOR – “Smaller than Clouds: Concert with Sean Murphy,” 7-8:30 p.m. at Moore Auditorium, Schoodic Education & Research Center, 64 Acadia Dr. Call 288-1310.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – Night climb at Otter Cliff with Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School, 7-9 p.m., at Acadia National Park. Reservations required. For information, call 1-888-232-9559.

TRENTON – “Night Sky Friendly Luminance at Twilight,” learn about night sky friendly lighting, 7-8 p.m., Acadia Gateway Center, 685 Bar Harbor Rd. Call 664-7474.

TRENTON – “Big Sky International Folk Dancing Party,” 8-10 p.m., Trenton Grange Hall, 1140 Bar Harbor Rd. This is an alcohol-free event. Cost is $7 per adult, $5 per student, $15 per family. Call 667-0260.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – “Star Party at Seawall,” 8-10 p.m., at Seawall Picnic Area, Route 102A south of Southwest Harbor. No attendance limit. Free. For information, call 288-8832.

Saturday, Sept. 15:

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – “Celebration of the Sun,” a variety of family-friendly activities, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Sieur de Monts Nature Center, intersection of Route 3 and Park Loop Rd. south of Bar Harbor. Observe sun spots, solar flares and other features of our closest star with special equipment. Call 288-8832.

BAR HARBOR – Starlab Planetarium, 1-4 p.m. at MDI YMCA, 21 Park St. Learn about the night sky inside a portable, inflatable planetarium. Programs limited to 30 people every 30 minutes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Call 288-8832.

BAR HARBOR – “Astronomy 101 and Meet the Telescopes,” presentation by Ron Thompson of the Southern Maine Astronomers and partner of the Cornerstones of Science Library Telescope Program, 3-4:30 p.m. at Gates Auditorium, College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St. Following the talk, Bert Probst, Acadia’s Astronomy Volunteer, will be available for hands-on Q&A with three different telescopes. Call 288-8832.

BAR HARBOR – “Contact Has Begun,” film that explores the story of Jame Gilliland, who claims to have regular UFO activity over his Trout Lake Property in Washington, 3-4 p.m. at Reel Pizza, 33 Kennebec Place. Cost is $3 for adults, free for children under 16. Call 460-9575.

BAR HARBOR – “Thoreau on Astronomy,” presentation by Tom Calderwood, Acadia’s Astronomy Volunteer, of poetic thoughts about the cosmos drawn from the writings of Thoreau, 5-5:45 p.m. at Gates Auditorium, College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St.

WINTER HARBOR – “Knowing the Night,” use your senses to explore the night world during an easy 1-mile walk, 7-8 p.m. at Moore Auditorium, SERC, 64 Acadia Dr. Reservations required. Call 288-1310.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – “Star Party on Cadillac Mountain,” 8-10 p.m., shuttle departs from Hulls Cove Visitor Center. Park rangers and local astronomers will point out constellations and other night sky features. Use the free “Shuttle to the Stars” starting at 7:30 p.m., which will run continuously between Hulls Cover Visitor Center and Cadillac’s summit. Call 288-8832.

Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012:

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – “Celebration of the Sun,” a variety of family-friendly activities, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Sieur de Monts Nature Center, intersection of Route 3 and Park Loop Rd. south of Bar Harbor. Observe sun spots, solar flares and other features of our closest star with special equipment. Call 288-8832.

BAR HARBOR – “Bioluminescence,” activities, slide show and Q & A about how fireflies and ocean critters put ont heir own lights to attract prey and mates and outwit predators, 1-3 p.m. at George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St. The first hour is for children, young and old, to engage in hands-on activities. Limited to 50 participants. Call 801-5625.

BAR HARBOR – “The City Dark,” documentary on light pollution and disappearing stars, 2 p.m. at Reel Pizza, 33 Kennebec Place. Space is limited to 150 people. Sponsored by the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club. Call 288-8111.

WINTER HARBOR – “Star Studded Sunday at Schoodic,” a variety of family friendly activities to see the universe in a new way, 1-10 p.m. at SERC, 64 Acadia Dr. For details and specific events, visit www.starlightfestival.org/Events/starstuddedsunda.html.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – “Black Gold: Your National Parks at Night,” 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Blackwoods Campground, Acadia National Park, Route 3 south of Bar Harbor. Be among the first to hear preliminary results of nighttime park research conducted by Clemson University doctoral student Brandi L. Smith. Call 288-8832.

Monday, Sept. 17, 2012:

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – View the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain summit or at Schoodic Point, 5:30-7 a.m., at Cadillac Summit parking area or Schoodic Point parking area. A fitting conclusion to the Night Sky Festival, witness the nighttime starlight giving way to our daytime star, the sun. Dress warmly. Ranger presence from 5:30-7 a.m. No attendance limit. For information, call 288-8832 or visit www.nps.gov/acad.

Ongoing events:

BAR HARBOR – Exhibit of artwork inspired by the night sky, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day, Alone Moose Fine Crafts, 78 West St.

BAR HARBOR – Build your own Acadia Night Sky Festival ornament, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, at Christmas Spirit Shop, 80 Main St. Call 288-8168.

WINTER HARBOR – “Night Sky Art Show,” juried show featuring 2-D and 3-D pieces, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, at Schoodic Creates, 357 Main St.

BAR HARBOR – “Living Lights: A Bioluminescence Exhibit,” illustrations and interactive pieces by Jane Marie Piselli, COA graduate, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St.

AND drop in any time at these attractions:

THE MAINE SOLAR SYSTEM MODEL – the world’s largest scale solar system model, Route 1 from Houlton to Presque Isle.

EARTHA – the world’s largest revolving and rotating globe, DeLorme Headquarters in Yarmouth.

For information on the festival, visit www.starlightfestival.org or www.acadianightskyfestival.com.

 

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.