Acadia Night Sky Festival at Bar Harbor

Acadia Night Sky Festival at Bar Harbor

Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 12:00pm


Join us for one of the premier night sky events on the eastern seaboard. The 11th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is will once again be packed with a full schedule of events. With workshops, internationally recognized speakers and hands-on experiences, there truly is something for everyone from families to the serious amateur astronomer.


12:00pm – 1:00pm: “Biology of Light” with Dr. Michael Rosbash

All organisms on earth must coordinate their behavior and physiology with the daily light-dark cycle caused by the rotation of the earth around our sun. This regulation occurs through a genetic program that is highly conserved through evolution, from fruit flies to man.

Dr. Rosbash will speak about his fundamental discovery of this molecular clock. His work has elegantly demonstrated how complex circadian behavior is regulated by a set of core genes. His early scientific journey is documented in a book by Jonathan Weiner called “Time, Love, Memory: A great biologist and his quest for the origins of behavior.” For this discovery, he shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

Dr. Rosbash is the Peter Gruber Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis University and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This promises to be a fun and informative lecture.

Location: Jackson Laboratory, 600 Main Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Cost: Free

1:30pm – 3:00pm: “Celebration of the Sun” with Astronomy Volunteers

Join amateur astronomers and Acadia National Park rangers for safe solar viewing through a variety of specially-equipped telescopes.

Location: Bar Harbor Village Green, Village Green, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Cost: Free

1:30pm – 3:00pm: “Meet the Telescopes” with the Astronomy Volunteers

Learn about different types of telescopes and the advantages of each design.  Acadia Astronomy Volunteers will be available to introduce you to the scopes.

Location: Bar Harbor Village Green, Village Green, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Cost: Free

2:00pm – 3:00pm: “Stars over Acadia” with Richard Luecke

As darkness falls, the Milky Way—our island home in the cosmos—arches across the sky from horizon to horizon. Astronomy volunteer Richard Luecke will take you on an image-enhanced journey along that river of starlight and the constellations that occupy it: through Perseus, Andromeda, and Cassiopeia in the northeast, and on to Cygnus, the Swan hovering overhead. From there we’ll glide down through Aquila, Zeus’s pet eagle to Sagittarius, which marks the heart of the Milky Way Galaxy. Saturn and Jupiter hover brightly nearby. Along the journey, you’ll see images of star clusters, nebulae, and other amazing objects that can be seen with binoculars, amateur telescopes–and some with the unaided eye.

Every participant will receive a handy star chart of this month night sky.

Location: YWCA Mount Desert Island, 36 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Cost: Free

3:00pm – 4:00pm: “Howling at the Moon” with Jan Hoey

Howling at the Moon: Our Moon in Science, Culture, and Myth Earth’s moon has exerted a major influence for the past 4 billion years—from oceans to the origins of life, from climate to calendars, from love to lunacy.

Location: YWCA Mount Desert Island, 36 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Cost: Free

4:00pm – 5:00pm: “Darkness in Distress” with J. Kelly Beatty

We denizens of Earth stand at a crossroads. For decades we’ve allowed the sprawl of civilization to steal ever more stars from our nighttime skies. But this loss does not have to be permanent. Light pollution can be reversed, easily, by common-sense approaches that not only restore the night sky’s beauty but also provide safe, energy-smart lighting solutions for our 24/7 society.

Kelly Beatty has been explaining the science and wonder of astronomy to the public since 1974. An award-winning writer and communicator, he specializes in planetary science and space exploration as Senior Editor for Sky & Telescope magazine. Beatty enjoys sharing his passion for astronomy with a wide spectrum of audiences, from children to professional astronomers, and you’ll occasionally hear his interviews and guest commentaries on National Public Radio and The Weather Channel. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the International Dark-Sky Association.

Location: YWCA Mount Desert Island, 36 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Cost: Free

6:00pm – 7:30pm: Keynote Event: “The Milky Way as you’ve never seen it before” by Dr. Jackie Faherty

Dr. Jackie Faherty is Senior Scientist and Senior Education Manager, jointly, in the Department of Astrophysics and the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. She is working at the forefront of brown dwarf and exoplanet atmosphere detection and characterization. Dr. Faherty is continually striving to create more opportunities for underrepresented minorities to enter STEM fields through unique outreach endeavors.

Location: Criterion Theatre, 35 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

By donation. Give what you can.

6:00pm – 8:30pm: Starry Night Paint and Sip

Come and create your own Starry Night. Step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process as you create your own version of van Gogh’s masterpiece. All supplies and canvases provided. All ages welcome.

Location: Artwaves MDI, 1345a State Highway 102, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Cost: $45

6:15pm – 9:00pm: “Under the Stars” Boat Cruise

As the sun sets we will travel out among the islands of the bay and along the shores of what the Wabanaki Indians called “Pesamkuk” (MDI). From using constellations in navigation and storytelling to the supernatural healing powers of the elusive Star People, the Wabanaki have worked with the stars for over 12,000 years.

John Bear Mitchell, University of Maine professor of Wabanaki and Multicultural studies, will share Maine native stories about the relationship to and beliefs about the night sky. BHWW naturalist Zack Klyver will provide a short presentation on the “Celestial Navigation”.

After these spoken presentations, we will cruise over the ocean looking up at the darkening night sky while listening to a selection of enjoyable celestial-themed music pieces including the theme to Superman, ET, Bolero by Ravel and Star Wars by John Williams.

We then turn our attention to the night sky from the top and bow of the boat with local expert naturalist and amateur astronomer Lynn Havsall. We will learn stories behind the constellations and many wonderful facts about the amazing universe we live in. Lynn will use a laser pointer to call out and describe constellations, planets, stars, and distant galaxies.

Departs at 6:15pm (boarding begins at 5:30pm).

Trip time: 2.5 to 2.75 hours. Returns at 9:00pm.

Location: Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., 1 West Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Cost: $45

7:00pm – 9:00pm: Celestial Cinema: Selected space-themed short films including “A Grand Day Out” featuring Wallace & Gromit

Bring your family and spread a blanket under the stars for a viewing of several space-themed short films including “A Grand Day Out” featuring Wallace & Gromit.

Location: Agamont Park, Agamont Park, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Cost: Free

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