Seeing Stars: Bar Harbor Prepares for Third Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival

Celebrating an often overlooked natural resource, the town of Bar Harbor hopes to promote awareness through festive activities and entertainment.

Online PR News – 26-August-2011 – – Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce
CONTACT: Lauren Rupp
TEL: 207-288-5103

BAR HARBOR, Maine—Residents of Bar Harbor are fortunate to live surrounded by some of the planets most spectacular views of land, sea and sky. The Downeast sky, the night sky in particular is the focus of the 3rd Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival.

Acadia Night Sky Festival starts the evening of September 22nd, continuing through sunrise on the 26th on Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, where most events take place. Concerts, panel discussions, workshops, art exhibits, and science related programs are on the agenda. There are opportunities for stargazing from different sites in the park throughout the festival. Indoor and outdoor events are planned with highlights including star parties, night sky boat cruise, night walks led by park rangers to observe the wildlife active during darkness, a special ecological program featuring owls, a picnic with the planets & showing of the Disney movie Wall-E, and night sky photography workshops led by local photographer Bob Thayer. During the workshop, Thayer leads other photographers through the technical and artistic steps of capturing the night sky with their camera. Many events require advance registration. Some have a fee. A list of events can be seen at the festival’s website

The Acadia Night Sky Festival is an extension of the collaboration of several community and government organizations, each dedicated to protect and preserve Acadia’s night sky. The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, with its well-deserved reputation for practicing sustainable tourism is a key member of the partnership. Another crucial player and the entity to first bring attention to encroaching light pollution and its destruction of the natural beauty of the night sky is the National Park Service. Back in 1999 a team of NPS scientists started documenting the status of night skies. Their findings ignited a plan to preserve this often overlooked yet precious natural resource.

Like Acadia, the skies over many national parks remain unobstructed by the light pollution coming from dense population centers, still mesmerizing, still creating a sense of awe in observers. On clear nights, countless points of light swirl above Mount Desert Island, a phenomenon known as the Milky Way- earth’s own galaxy, never seen by two-thirds of the entire population of the Eastern Seaboard! The festival offers an opportunity for many to experience the glory of a night sky for the first time. “We are serious about preserving our night sky and what better way to do it than by bringing fun and attention to our treasure, all the while educating the public,” said Lauren Rupp, Events Coordinator at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Anyone observing Acadia’s night sky awash in natural brilliance will understand why.

The Festival is presented by the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Acadia National Park, Friends of Acadia, Schoodic Education & Research Center, College of the Atlantic, and the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce. It is made possible in part by the Jackson Laboratory, Sylvania and The Bluenose Inn.