June 3, 2021: Planning for the 2021 Acadia Night Sky Festival is underway and we hope to be able to release a schedule in the coming weeks. Like all other events, we are looking for ways to safely hold as many presentations, gatherings, and activities as possible. However, it is likely that our schedule will not be as robust as it has been in past years.
One major change this year is that there will be no star parties with telescopes provided by volunteer astronomers. This includes the Cadillac Mountain Star Party. We do expect that Acadia National Park will be offering its iconic Stars Over Sand Beach ranger-led event. This decision was made for many reasons, some beyond the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We expect that attendees of this year’s festival will enjoy our lineup of speakers and activities while understanding the need to adjust our offerings. Thank you for your patience while our volunteers finalize the schedule of events.
Acadia Night Sky Festival
September 29 – October 3, 2021
Celebrating the starlit skies of Downeast Maine
Join us for the 12th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival
Join us for one of the premier night sky events on the eastern seaboard. The 12th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is set for September 29 – October 3, 2021, and 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.
Help us celebrate the starlit skies of Downeast Maine through education, science and the arts.
Maine’s spectacular rocky coast is home to Acadia National Park, and some of the last pristine, star-filled night skies in the eastern United States. Here, the Milky Way shines bright in the largest expanse of naturally dark sky east of the Mississippi River.
With the rapid loss of dark skies to light pollution receiving national attention, Maine is increasingly being referred to as one place “that still has stars.” We invite you to discover Downeast Maine’s unique commitment to protecting the quality of its starlit nights at this annual celebration.
Cadillac Mountain Star Party
It is estimated that 99 percent of residents of the United States and Europe live under light polluted skies and nearly 80 percent of the world’s population experiences skyglow at night.
About the Festival
The Acadia Night Sky Festival originated as an outcome of the enthusiasm of the local community and government over the adoption of a local ordinance. In 2007, the Bar Harbor Conservation Commission (BHCC), held their biennial Conservation Summit; it was here that the need to preserve the night skies over Mount Desert Island and its surrounding communities as the darkest skies on the Eastern seaboard, was first brought to light. As a result, the BHCC proceeded to develop over the course of the following two years a local ordinance that required ‘night sky friendly’ outdoor lighting on all new construction in the town of Bar Harbor, in an effort to prevent any further light pollution to our local skies.
The popularity of this effort among both local communities and government drew such incredible support that in 2009, the ‘Bar Harbor Ordinance – Light and Glare’ was voted in by a landslide popular vote. Recognizing the overwhelming response from the residents and respective municipalities, the need to celebrate this wonderful commodity became apparent, and that same year, the inaugural Acadia Night Sky Festival was held.
Since its inaugural run, the Acadia Night Sky Festival has attracted much national attention and recognition, not only for its unique purpose, but for the collaboration that it has inspired among some of the major private organizations in Hancock County. The current ANSF planning committee is made up of representatives from the Emera Astronomy Center, The Jackson Laboratory, Jesup Memorial Library, Mount Desert Island High School, the National Park Service, Seal Cove Auto Museum, and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.