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Watching Maine’s Night Sky

When’s the last time you studied the night sky? Maine, a largely rural state, provides you with plenty of places to gaze up and engage the universe.

Bar Harbor even gives stargazers some legal leverage. A light-pollution ordinance mandates “night sky-friendly” outdoor lighting on all new construction. That law, in turn, helped inspire the annual Acadia Night Sky Festival. Each September, the festival draws stargazers with workshops, speakers and hands-on experiences. If you can’t make the festival, rangers at the adjacent Acadia National Park offer a one-hour ‘Stars Over Sand Beach’ program on evenings in June through September.

You can study the cosmos at the Emera Astronomy Center and Jordan Planetarium at the University of Maine in Orono. Visit for star shows or telescope viewings. Other observatories and planetariums that welcome visitors include the Blueberry Pond Observatory, just north of Bradbury Mountain State Park; the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine in Portland; and the Astronomical Society of Northern New England’s observatory in Kennebunk.

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