When Was the Last Time You Gazed Up at the Night Sky?
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.
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.”
The night skies of Acadia National Park are 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.
Acadia Night Sky Festival
The Acadia Night Sky Festival is a four-day celebration in late September each year that promotes the protection and enjoyment of the star-filled night skies of Acadia National Park as an important natural resource for visitors and residents alike.
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.
The festival features events in communities across Mount Desert Island, from art, music, and science to poetry and stargazing. For more information on the festival, please visit the festival website.