Stars Over Katahdin (SOK) is a very special October event that has been sponsored for the past four years by Elliotsville Plantation, Incorporated (EPI), on and around the lands EPI originally owned. When EPI gifted these lands to the United States, the acreage was then decreed by President Obama to be the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (KWWNM).
“Dark Sky” sight-seeing is growing, in which people will go to great lengths to catch a glimpse of what many often take for granted in the North Woods – stars in the wilderness unobstructed by the presence of human artificial light, often called “light pollution.”
This year, the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is delighted to continue sponsoring this magical event, with community educational programming during the week of October 1-8, 2018. Each year the event has grown. At SOK 2017, light readings were taken to show that our location for the star viewing event is one of the darkest found in the state of Maine, and maybe even in New England.
Stars Over Katahdin has evolved into a successful communities outreach program as well, bringing the Northern Star Planetarium to schools in the Katahdin Region in the same week, along with a small group of Astro VIPs (Volunteers in Parks) that are shared with Acadia National Park. Last year, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument engaged its first Place Based Learning Educator into the Stars Over Katahdin programming. The Monument VIPs offered guided interpretation and hikes or bike rides into the Monument through the weekend as well.
The small challenges of reaching this slightly remote area are offset by the wow factor when observing the shadow of Katahdin and the stars so closely — thanks to astronomer partners who bring all kinds of telescopes, and share expertise for your viewing pleasure for one magical night in the Monument. One more reason to celebrate this amazing gift!
To learn more about the impact of artificial light and how you can protect the precious resource of dark skies, visit: http://www.darksky.org
For more information on how you can participate and support this and other programs and events at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, explore the pages right here of the Friends of KWW website (https://www.friendsofkww.org).