Stars Over Katahdin 2019

Stars Over Katahdin is our annual celebration of the unparalleled night skies of the Katahdin region. Each year,  Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters gathers Volunteers In Parks (VIPs) astronomers and star enthusiasts to enjoy the Monument in fall and observe the stunning celestial objects above the Loop Road Overlook at Mile 6.4.


Saturday, September 21st
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Interpretive Hike to Orin Falls – 10:30 AM
Meet at Sandbank Stream Campsite
Directions to Sandbank Stream Campsite

Family Hike – 2:00 PM
Meet at Sandbank Stream Campsite (Directions)

Shuttle to Evening Program – 5:00 PM
Meet at Sandbank Stream Campsite (Directions)

Campfire Chats & Star Observation – 5:30  PM
at Loop Road Overlook at Mile 6.4
Longitude and Latitude: 45°50’45.6″N 68°44’50.7″W

Our day starts beneath the biggest star in our sky, the sun, with an interpretive hike to Orin Falls, facilitated by Deputy Director Sam Deeran. Along the way, we’ll learn about history, ecology, and culture from Sam and community members on the hike. We’ll eat bring-your-own-lunches at the beautiful Orin Falls. In the afternoon, families are invited to join place-based educator Scarlet McAvoy for a family hike near Sandbank Stream campsite.

Those attending the evening portion of events should be ready to carpool and shuttle from Sandbank Stream Campsite by 5 PM. Our evening program begins with a campfire chat below the Loop Road Overlook where, with hot cocoa and s’mores in hand, some of our volunteers share scientific lessons and rousing anecdotes while we wait for the skies to darken. Following our campfire program, we’ll head to the Loop Road Overlook where our Astro VIPs teach us what lies overhead through interpretation of stars, planets, and celestial objects seen with telescopes, binoculars, and the naked eye.

Stars Over the Katahdin takes place while Friends, EPI, and the National Park Service continue their collective effort to have the Monument designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association. The efforts to conserve the night skies of the region were previously covered in the Portland Press Herald’s feature “Let there be dark: Advocates push Maine as astrotourism destination” and The County’s article “Dark skies a resource to protect.” Light pollution maps show that this part of Maine is home to a patch of dark skies larger than any other in the United States East of the Mississippi River. With a total eclipse expected to move directly over the Monument in 2024, dark sky advocates pushing for the International Dark Sky Sanctuary hope Katahdin Woods and Waters can be a major destination for astrotourists from across the world.

Volunteer astronomers attending the event can find directions to the Loop Road Overlook at Mile 6.4 using this map linked here.