This pretty much sums up our experience at the Acadian Night Sky Festival this weekend.
“As I lay underneath the night canopy I am forced to realize once again the majesty of the universe. I won’t pretend to be significant as I see a meteor that has traveled for millions of years burn out in one majestic second above me. I only hope that the souls I have touched in my blink of an eye existance have been bettered for it. For they are all that truly matter to me.” – Posted last night on Facebook by our son Jesse
At last night’s star party on Cadillac Mountain, we were able to peer into vast distances of time and space. Astronomers had set up dozens of telescopes, the largest one being 36 inches in diameter.. We climbed up the ladder to view M13, the Great Globular Cluster of Hercules, with around 300,000 stars and estimated at 25,100 light years away. Since one light year = 6 trillion miles… well, you do the math!
Acadia, a designated Dark Sky Park, is the only National Park on the east coast where the Milky Way is visible. Right next door is our sister galaxy, Andromeda, the most distant thing we can see with our naked eye – 2.3 million light years away.
Earlier that day we packed a picnic lunch and rode our bikes around Eagle Lake. A gift from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the 45 miles of Carriage Roads throughout the park are for pedestrians, bicycles and horses only.
It’s been a wonderful weekend here in Acadia, with amateur astronomers willing to share their time, their expertise, and their wide array of telescopes with anyone who wants to take a look. Here are a few that were set up with filters for viewing the sun during the day.