Stargazing and the Night Sky

With thousands of sparsely inhabited square miles, DownEast Acadia offers some of the best night sky gazing.
West Quoddy Head Light and the Milky Way ©AdamWoodworth

You will find some of the country’s darkest skies here in DownEast Acadia, where the lack of human-made light allows visitors to spot millions of stars, including our galaxy, the Milky Way. The region is also home to Maine’s first moonrise and visible nighttime celestial features. Every night is a spectacle to behold, where you won’t even need a telescope to explore the night sky, but having one gives you an ideal chance to look farther into the depths of space. 

Northern lights fill the winter sky.

Acadia Night Sky Festival

DownEast Maine’s commitment to protecting the quality of its starlit nights shines bright in September during the Acadia Night Sky Festival. Join park rangers at Sand Beach to view and learn about Acadia’s amazing night sky or experience an unforgettable evening paddle in Castine Harbor’s Bioluminescent Bay. Bring a blanket and popcorn for Celestial Cinema: Family Movie Night Under the Stars in Agamont Park.

watch Way DownEast

Every August, the Downeast Amateur Astronomers host the Maine State Star Party in Cobscook Bay State Park. A stay at one of their campgrounds will offer ample opportunity to enjoy the night sky any time of year. Early risers can double down at West Quoddy State Park. Spot Venus and Sirius bright in the early morning sky, then wait as the first rays of sun hit the United States. Or include a nighttime visit to the Sawyer Observatory in Pembroke.

NORTHERN LIGHTS

The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, can often be seen from August to October. On a crisp autumn night, go outside and look north; you might see a faint green cloud tinting the horizon or a dance of flickering lights fading in and out. The intensity of the glow depends on solar activity caused by charged particles from the Sun’s corona, or upper atmosphere, creating what’s called the solar wind. When that wind slams into Earth’s upper atmosphere, the aurora is born. Sunspots created by intense solar storms allow for a more active aurora near the Canadian border. 

Planning Tools

To help you plan your trip we provide  information on drive time and distances to and around the region. Plus info on other commercial transportation options.

Once you arrive in DownEast Acadia, you will want to access local sources of visitor information, state laws, recreation rules, and road conditions.

To help you pack or plan your day, check out the current weather in the region or learn about year-round averages of temperature and precipitation.

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