Medomak Astronomy Retreat and Symposia (MARS)

20140320091559.jpg

A Star Party with Creature Comforts!

August 19-23, 2014

Have you ever wanted it all - an ultra dark night that just begs you to stargaze, and a comfortable bed in a fully equipped cabin just steps away from your scope?

Now you can have it all.

Medomak Retreat Center in Washington, Maine, has some of the darkest skies in the Northeast, with a limiting visual magnitude of 6.3 (SQM value: 21.3 MPSAS). It's an IDA-compliant property that takes an active role in promoting the benefits of dark skies. Medomak's family camp has hosted an astronomy-themed vacation week for 10 years, and availability routinely sells out many months in advance.

Now Medomak is taking its growing reputation as a stargazing mecca to the next level. This summer, August 19-23, we'll host a star party more geared toward adults and older children. You'll be able to learn about astronomy and telescopes by day - and revel under our expansive dark skies at night. This fantastic and engaging program is led by J. Kelly Beatty (Sky & Telescope's senior contributing editor) and veteran stargazer, researcher and telescope maker Bruce Berger (Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston).

But don't just join us for the stars, the programs, the lectures, and the large inflatable planetarium. (We'll even have telescopes, but bring yours too.) What makes this a "must-go" venue are the creature comforts. No need to bring a tent, or sleep in a sleeping bag, or eat so-so food. Medomak has comfortable, private cabin facilities with real beds, hot showers, electricity, and amazing, chef-prepared food. And it's all included in your tuition.

And for daytime entertainment? Medomak is located on a beautiful Maine lake that's perfect for swimming, paddling, fishing, or just relaxing. We have all kinds of gear for having fun in the water. You can play tennis or basketball, shoot archery, or enjoy a campfire as we wait for the skies to get dark. Again, all included in your tuition.

Mornings are free time, designed to let you have fun, explore the region, or just sleep in. Each afternoon will feature a series of presentations designed to teach you about astronomy, the night sky, telescopes, and how to view/photograph all those celestial wonders, also included in your tuition.

Tuition is all-inclusive of the following:

The Program
This gathering will provide activities for amateurs of all experience levels, from newbies looking to buy their first scope to seasoned deep-sky observers and astrophotographers. Here's a partial list of the presentations planned:

* An Introduction to Light Pollution
* Asteroid Occultations (Real Science with Your Telescope)
* Best-Bet Sky Simulation Software and Apps
* Building and Automating Your Dream Observatory
* How to Choose the Best Telescope for YOU
* Using your new telescope
* Telescope Tune-ups
* How to Collimate Your Reflecting Telescope
* Kepler's Explosion of Exoplanets
* Meteors, Meteorites, and Meteorwrongs
* How to Get Started Making Your Own Telescope
* Mythology and Lore of the Night Sky
* Mars in 3D (Latest News from the World Next Door)
* Portraying the Night Sky (with award-winning artist Greg Mort)
* Preparing for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
* Sunlight Symphonies (Exploring the Daytime Sky)
* The Amazing Hubble Space Telescope
* The Problem with Pluto

Our Facilitators

J. Kelly Beatty - Sr. Contributing Editor for Sky and Telescope magazine. See bio

Bruce Berger - Director of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston (ATMoB) Research and Imaging Observatory. See bio

Greg Mort - Renowned artist and life-long amateur astronomer, telescope maker, and astrophotographer. See bio

20140320091641.jpgThe Stargazing
Medomak has recently upgraded its infrastructure to accommodate dusk-to-dawn stargazing. You can set up your scope next to your cabin, on our new power-ready observing pad, or at a secure remote site with a commanding view for astrophotography. Or just bring your binoculars and use one of the retreat center's telescopes.

The Accommodations
Our cabins are simple and clean. All cabins are private, with comfortable beds, hot showers and bathrooms. If you are staying up late to watch the sky, it is nice to comfortably sleep in through the morning, and get a nice shower.

The Food
All our meals are chef-prepared, small batch and from scratch. This isn't institutional food. We grow many of our own organic vegetables, we milk our own cows, and bake our own breads and desserts. There is always plenty to go around of our hearty, healthy, comfort food. Coffee, tea, fruit and snacks are available all day and well into the night, so you can keep your eyes open waiting for that next brilliant shooting star.

Fun Things to Do
We are located on a beautiful lake that just begs for refreshing dip. Access to sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and stand-up-paddle surfboards (SUPs) is included in your tuition and available all day long. We have full-size basketball and tennis courts, an archery range, and beautiful fields and woods with trails to wander about. Medomak is just minutes from the picturesque towns of Rockland and Camden and a 2-hour drive from Acadia National Park.