Stargazing

View of the Milky Way from the Loop Road Overlook at Stars Over Katahdin 2017. In the foreground a large telescope is visible. A green laser points to the stars and people's faces reflect the red lights used to preserve night sky vision.
View of the Milky Way from the Loop Road Overlook at Stars Over Katahdin 2017.

© John Meader

 

Starry nights at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument are exceptional, with night sky readings that prove the monument and its surrounding neighbors have some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi. Within its 87,564 acres there are no electric lights and no commercial power sources.

Where to Stargaze

You can experience the spectacular dark skies from almost anywhere in the monument.
Try stargazing at these areas:
  • Sandbank Stream campsites
  • Katahdin Loop Road Overlook
  • Haskell Hut
  • Big Spring Brook Hut
 
Light pollution map of the east coast of the United States illustrating limited light pollution in northern Maine.
Located in northern Maine, Katahdin Woods and Waters is home to some of the darkest skies in the eastern United States.

Jurij Stare, www.lightpollution.info

Volunteer astronomers at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument help us measure the darkness of the night skies in northern Maine. Light readings are taken with a Sky Quality Meter. The meter measures how much light strikes the sensor and then converts that amount of light into units of magnitudes per square arc-second. Larger numbers indicate a darker sky. The highest reading so far at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is 21.84!

If you'd like to help collect data on dark skies during your visit to the monument or from your own backyard, go to the International Dark-Sky Association's website for more information about measuring light pollution.

 

Stars Over Katahdin

The Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters host an annual Stars Over Katahdin event, the group’s celebration of the unparalleled night skies of the Katahdin Region. Each year, star enthusiasts and Volunteers-In-Parks (VIPs) astronomers gather to observe the stunning celestial objects above the Katahdin Loop Road Overlook at Mile 6.4.
 
Front cover of the Junior Ranger Night Explorer book showing a child's hands holding a pencil and an image of the night sky.
Front cover of the Junior Ranger Night Explorers book.

NPS

Be a Junior Ranger Night Explorer

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is an amazing place to explore the night skies and its constellations. Check out the Junior Ranger Night Explorer Booklet to learn more about the dark skies that are protected by the National Park Service.

Download your own copy of the Junior Ranger Night Explorer book [4 MB PDF] before arriving at the park!

 

Last updated: May 8, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 446
Patten, ME 04765

Phone:

207-456-6001

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