Astronomy Aroostook County

Hello and welcome back to a new year of classes and adventures at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Northern Maine is a great place to live and, if you like astronomy, it is a great place to be.  Northern Maine has rich dark skies full of stars and celestial events.

The University Times runs this ongoing series of articles about astronomy throughout the year.  The topics vary from edition to edition and will contain news related to astronomy and information about various sky events.  Although I have some articles in mind, I would like your input on possible articles.  If you have any questions or would like to suggest an article, please feel free to email me at

Here are a couple of places you can go to find more information about astronomy in Aroostook County.

The Aroostook County Astronomy Club provides educational opportunities and occasional observing nights throughout the year.  Joining the local astronomy club is easy: just join their Facebook group “Aroostook County Astronomy Club.”  By joining this page, you will be able to receive interesting articles about astronomy, be notified of upcoming club events, receive information about celestial events and receive notifications about possible northern lights.

The Maine Solar System Model was dedicated in 2003.  At that time, it was the largest to scale solar system model on Earth.  Now it is the second largest.  One mile is equal to 93,000,000 miles in this 40+ miles model.  At this scale, the Earth is located near Percy’s Auto Sales one mile south of UMPI’s campus on Route 1.  For more information about the Maine Solar System Model, go to

The Francis Malcolm Science Center, located in Easton, Maine, has a planetarium and hosts occasional planetarium shows and observing nights. The science center is a great place to visit and, when possible, their shows will be listed here and on the astronomy club’s Facebook page.  For more information about the science center go to

Happy stargazing.




All of the times and events listed below are from  You may register at this site and load your location (anywhere in the world) to be able to get event information and times.  The University of Maine at Presque Isle is located at 68d00m7.8s west longitude and 46d40m45.6s north latitude.


The International Space Station is visible as follows:

Morning – Until Sept. 16.

Evening – Sept. 18 to Oct. 12.

Morning – Oct. 23 to Nov. 12 .


To get a free sky chart, go to


Sun and Planet Visibility


06:15 Sunrise .

18:34 Sunset

18:48 – 19:00 Mercury.

18:36 – 18:54 Venus.

Not visible Mars.

18:42 – 21:54 Jupiter.

19:00 – 23:48 Saturn.



06:42 Sunrise.

17:54 Sunset.

18:24 – 18:30 Mercury.

17:54 – 18:24 Venus.

05:36 – 06:12 Mars.

18:06 – 20:42 Jupiter.

18:24 – 22:30 Saturn .


09/12 @ 05:00 ISS passes 1.2 degrees from Alnilam (Epsilon Orion).

09/13 @ 04:11 ISS passes 0.5 degrees from Elmath/Al Nath (Beta Taurus).

09/13 @ 09:01 Mercury 0.3 degrees from Venus.

09/13 @ 09:16 Moon at apogee – farthest from the Earth (252,514.6 miles/406,382.8 km).

09/14 @ 00:32 Full moon.

09/21 @ 22:40 Last quarter moon.

09/23 @ 03:50 September Equinox – Fall begins in the northern hemisphere.

09:24 @ 19:58 ISS passes Arcturus (Alpha Bootes).

09/26 @ 06:00 Equilux – Equal day and night in Presque Isle, ME.
09/27 @ 22:17 Moon at perigee – closest to the Earth (222,324.0 miles/357,795.8 km).

09/28 @ 05:42 Comet 13P Olbers at perihelion – closest to the sun = Mag 7.2.

09/28 @ 14:26 New moon.

10/03 @ 02:12 Mercury at aphelion – farthest from the sun (43,382,500 miles/69,817.300 km).
10/05 @ 12:47 First quarter moon.

10/06 @ 19:00 Draconid Meteor Shower – 6 meteors/hr.

10/07 @ 19:00 Draconid Meteor Shower – 8.8 meteors/hr.

10/07 @ 21:08 Winter begins on Mars’ northern hemisphere.

10/08 @ 19:00 Draconid Meteor Shower – 11 meteors/hr.

10/09 @ 02:00 Draconid Meteor Shower Maximum – 12.4 meteors/hr.

10/09 @ 19:00 Draconid Meteor Shower – 10.4 meteors/hr.

10/10 @ 14:18 Moon at apogee – farthest from the Earth – (252,228.4 miles/405,922.2 km).

10/10 @ 19:00 Draconid Meteor Shower – 7.8 meteors/hr.

10/11 @ 19:00 Draconid Meteor Shower – 5.3 meteors/hr.

10/13 @ 17:07 Full moon.

10/20 @ 00:00 Mercury greatest elongation = 24.6 degrees east – visible in the evening sky.

10/20 @ 05:00 Orionid meteor shower – 6.3 meteors/hr.

10/21 @ 05:00 Orionid meteor shower – 8.8 meteors/hr.

10/21 @ 08:39 Last quarter moon.

10/22 @ 05:00 Orionid meteor shower – 10.5 meteors/hr.

10/22 @ 10:00 Orionid meteor shower – 10.6 meteors/hr.

10/23 @ 05:00 Orionid meteor shower – 9.8 meteors/hr.

10/24 @ 05:00 Orionid meteor shower – 7.4 meteors/hr.

10/25 @ 05:00 Orionid meteor shower – 5.2 meteors/hr.

10/25 @ 06:03 ISS passes 0.9 degrees from the moon.

10/25 @ 08:06 Mercury at half phase.

10/26 @ 06:31 Moon at perigee – closest to the Earth (224,498.9 miles/361,295.9 km).
10/27 @ 06:01 ISS passes 0.4 degrees from Betelgeuse (Alpha Orion).

10/27 @ 23:38 New moon.

10/28 @ 04:02 Uranus at opposition – directly behind the Earth.

10/31 Mercury 2.5 degrees from Venus.

Gentile Hall’s Wellness Programs!

Welcome back to campus everyone.  I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing summer vacation.  We are very excited for the 2019-2020 school year to get started!  We have so much to offer here at Gentile Hall, so come stop by and take advantage of this beautiful facility.

We have an elevated indoor track, basketball courts, a 25 yard swimming pool, a 37-foot rock climbing wall and bouldering wall and a wonderful fitness center equipped with strength machines, free weights and cardio equipment.  If you need help with anything, I will be more than happy to show you how to use the equipment.

I will be hosting a variety of events during my Wellness Week from Sept. 23-26. All events and fitness classes will be free to all.  Sept. 23 I will kick the week off with coffee, treats and orientations to all the fitness equipment from 8:30-10:30 a.m.  Then I will have Fusion training from 12-12:45 p.m. in Gentile Hall.  The last event that day will be Fit Camp from 5-5:45 p.m.

Sept. 24, Nancy Roble from Cary Medical Center will be doing blood pressure screenings from 9-10:30 a.m. in Gentile Hall.  So if employees need some insurance incentives, this would be a good event to come to.  Then I will have Circuit Training from 12-12:45 p.m.

Sept. 25, I will have coffee, treats, healthy recipes and protein supplements from Bike Board and Ski.  Stop by and check out all they have to offer.  Then the last event that day will be Fit Camp from 5-5:45 p.m.

Sept. 26, I will finish off my Wellness Week with Fusion training from 12-12:45 p.m. in Gentile Hall.

I offer a variety of fitness classes to accommodate different levels of fitness that are free to all students.  Fit Camp is on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 5-5:45 p.m. This is a high-intensity boot-camp-style class.  Total Body Circuit Training is on Tuesdays from 12-12:45 p.m.  In this class I focus on core training and strength training for the lower body and upper body.  Fusion training is a combination of yoga, pilates and barre.  This class is from 12-12:45 p.m. in the Campus Center room 112 on Mondays and Thursdays.

We have a variety of intramural sports that will keep everyone busy.  Last year Jonathon Bowman did futsol, pickle ball, water polo and much more.  Check our website for details at or email Jonathon Bowman at

Faculty, staff, students and community members, do not forget that Gentile Hall has canoe and tent rentals through the Outing Club.  If students are interested in being a part of the Outing Club, stop by our front desk for more information.

Students, make sure you get your student I.D. validated at the business office.  For all other questions, concerns and hours of operation, you can contact Keli Marston at 768-1202 or email at  Or check out our website at

Just a little food for thought: let’s not forget about our wonderful Farmer’s Market in the area.  This is the best time of year to get fresh, home-grown vegetables in the county!  They also have a variety of soaps, lotions, crafts, baked goods, eggs and much more to choose from.

The Farmers Market is on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Riverside Pavilion.  The great news is that it’s within walking distance for our students, faculty and staff.


Student Leads the Discovery of Aroostook County’s Lost Town

What is Maysville? Thanks to UMPI student Evan Zarkadas and mentor Kim Sebold’s University Day presentation, we now know that Maysville was a town across from Presque Isle. Maysville was first settled in 1816 and was annexed into Presque Isle in 1883. Through research, Zarkadas learned about the history of the pioneers and infrastructure of Maysville. “You travel through Maysville every day,” Zarkadas said. Continue reading “Student Leads the Discovery of Aroostook County’s Lost Town”

Writers Without Margins Gives Four Ex-Cons a Voice

Creative writing positively benefits mental and physical health. Writers Without Margins is a non-profit organization “dedicated to the fusion of art and advocacy…” especially for those “isolated by the challenges of addiction recovery, trauma, poverty, disability and mental illness.” Recently, Writers Without Margins joined forces with Wahl St. Productions to create a film called “In Their Shoes.” The film tells the stories of Zach, Stephen, Jean and Marcel. These four men tell their own stories, in their own words, about their participation in a “prison re-entry and addiction recovery creative writing program.” Continue reading “Writers Without Margins Gives Four Ex-Cons a Voice”

Her Last Year at UMPI


Picking out your home for the next four years can be hard.  For Brandy Smith, a senior PCJ major at UMPI, she didn’t find it hard at all. “So, I was the editor of my high school newspaper. I went to Mt. View High School and I wanted to major in journalism and I was looking and looking at NESCOM, and it was very expensive and complicated because it was part of Husson.  I decided to look elsewhere, and I checked out UMPI.  My friends and I came up and toured UMPI and I met Dr. J and thought it was a perfect fit,” Brandy said. Continue reading “Her Last Year at UMPI”

When Racing Dogs Bring a Community Together

Picture of the CAN-AM Sled Dog Races. Picture taken by Tiffany Smith.

March is the third month of the year.  It has 31 days, and is named after Mars, the Roman god of war.  But for Aroostook County, it is the month of the Can-Am Crown, the sled dog races in Fort Kent. Every year in the first week of March, all of Aroostook County gathers in Fort Kent for a weekend of excitement, friendships and dog races.

During this year’s race, there was a variety of racers from various U.S. States and Canadian provinces. Maine was represented by 16 racers divided between the three race categories of 30, 100 and 250 miles. Continue reading “When Racing Dogs Bring a Community Together”

The One Hundred Club

The Original Sleeper_s Store founded by Joseph Sleeper. Sleeper_s today is in the same location.

Sea turtles, mighty redwoods and the lucky koi fish.  The list of 100-year-old survivors is not long.  Sleeper’s market in Caribou passed the century milestone in 2014.  It now looks very different from the first store, but the service and the values remain.

Rooted firmly on the corner of Route 1 and Lyndon Street, the small store has been a hub for generations.  Caribou looked much different one hundred years ago. Continue reading “The One Hundred Club”

“The Love Is Still There” Daughters Affected by Breast Cancer

Jordan and Kathy Haddad

Jordan Haddad is a 22-year-old student and Maine resident. She spent most of her childhood being raised by her mother and father and arguing with her older and younger brothers.  Jordan’s life changed when her mother, Kathy, was first diagnosed with breast cancer when Jordan was around 10. Jordan’s older brother, John, was 12 and younger brother, Thomas, was 7. Continue reading ““The Love Is Still There” Daughters Affected by Breast Cancer”