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 StargazeYou can experience the spectacular dark skies from almost anywhere in the monument.
Try stargazing at these areas:
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!
International Dark Sky SanctuaryIn 2020, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association. The Sanctuary designation was the second of its kind in the National Park Service and distinguishes the monument for the exceptional quality of its naturally dark night skies. Katahdin Woods and Waters was the first International Dark Sky Place certified in the state of Maine and in New England. The Natural Sounds and Nights Skies division of the National Park Service has determined that Katahdin Woods and Waters has some of the darkest nights skies east of the Mississippi River.
Stars Over KatahdinThe 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 monument.
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: January 11, 2023