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Night Sky Viewing Programs at Acadia National Park


NASA photo.

In honor of the International Year of Astronomy, Acadia National Park will host two special series of night sky programs during the remainder of the summer. They're part of an impressive lineup of interpretive activities at Acadia this year.

The biweekly Stars Over Sand Beach programs are scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during July and August to help visitors discover the wonders of Acadia’s night sky. The programs will begin at 9:30 pm in July and 9 pm in August, and last for about 90 minutes.

To participate, meet a ranger at the Sand Beach Parking Area in the park, dress warmly and bring a flashlight and binoculars. On cloudy nights, rangers will present a short program on stargazing. Sand Beach is south of Bar Harbor, via the one-way Park Loop Road. Maps and driving directions to the park are available on the park website.

On Saturday and Sunday evenings from August 8 through August 30, "Night Sky Scoping" programs will provide visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at faint stars, the moon, or distant galaxies during a telescope viewing session. Reservations for these programs may be made no more than three days in advance at Hulls Cove Visitor Center or by calling 207-288-8832.

These are but two of an impressive offering of ranger-guided activities in the park this summer, including walks, campfire programs, hikes, and boat cruises. You can find the schedule of activities for a specific day on the park website.

The park newspaper, the Beaver Log, contains a wealth of information to help you plan a visit to Acadia.


In honor of this International Year of Astronomy and the special opportunities presented to visitors of national parks to view the night sky away from the pollution of city and suburban lights, I would hope that the NPS promotes programs like this throughout the national park system.

Parks are places where the full glory of a dark and starry night can be enjoyed by anyone curious enough to stay out after dark. If there are scheduled NPS interpretive programs with knowledgeable naturalists of the sky equipped with telescopes and astronomical binoculars, so much the better.

Owen Hoffman
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Thanks Jim. Nice write-up. Yes, let's have more night sky programs at other national parks. The night skies are an integral component of our national parks, many of which, have terrific viewing conditions.

Executive Director,
Crater Lake Institute
Robert Mutch Photography

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