JULY 24 – 30, 2016


Maine Astronomy Retreat

July 23 – 29, 2017

A Vacation for You and Your Telescope

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. Limited to 40 observers and it’s all included in your tuition.

Power ready observing pad

And it’s only a few steps away from your cabin. Convenience is key, and our camp is ready for it. You’ll enjoy convenient stargazing at any time of night. Sign up using the Registration Form below.

Limiting visual magnitude of 6.3

(SQM value of 21.3 MPSAS) From relatively dark suburban areas, the Limiting Magnitude is frequently close to 5 or fainter, but from our site in Maine the Limiting Magnitude is higher than 6, allowing a much greater viewable spectrum.

IDA compliant facility

for unhindered observing. We are dedicated to preserving the night sky by reducing sky glow and limiting light pollution. This results in some of North America’s best viewing conditions.

A star party like no other

This gathering will provide activities for amateurs, to deep-sky observers and astrophotographers. Enjoy engaging presentations given by J Kelly Beatty (Sr. Editor, Sky & Telescope), Bruce Berger (Amateur astronomer, telescope builder and Director of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston Research and Imaging Observatory (ARIO), Babak A. Tafreshi (Founder of The World at Night or TWAN program and a photographer for National Geographic), Rod Mollise (Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope magazine), and Greg Mort (renowned artist and amateur astronomer). 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
* 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 Star Guides

J. Kelly Beatty

J. Kelly Beatty

Sr. Editor for Sky and Telescope magazine

J. Kelly Beatty


Kelly writes many of the feature articles and news items found in Sky & Telescope and on its website.

He joined the magazine’s staff in 1974 and served as the editor of Night Sky, a magazine for beginning stargazers, in 2004-07. He also teaches astronomy at the Dexter-Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts. Kelly and his writing have been honored with major awards from the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical League, and the American Geophysical Union. You’ll occasionally hear his interviews and guest commentaries on National Public Radio and The Weather Channel. Kelly enjoys speaking to audiences of all ages and interest levels about his passion for astronomy. He observes when he can through one of his eight telescopes, and he is active nationally in the fight against light pollution.


Bruce Berger

Bruce Berger

Amateur astronomer, telescope builder and Director of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston Research and Imaging Observatory (ARIO).

Bruce Berger

Bruce-ProfilePicBruce is an avid amateur astronomer, tinkerer, designer, and observer who loves to get involved in astronomy projects.

His first telescope, an 8-inch reflector made from scratch, won an Optical Excellence award at the annual Stellafane Convention, and its unique mount took an award for Innovative Mechanical Design.

Since then Bruce has built, rebuilt, refurbished or repaired many different telescopes, mounts and observatories. Bruce helped design and now serves as director of the ATMoB Research and Imaging Observatory featuring a .35 meter telescopic imaging system. He has also roamed the world in search of astro-adventure – trekking to California, China and the South Pacific to view solar eclipses. He has taken part in Minor Planet research with a leading university, receiving NSF funding to gather data on minor planets at the Mexican National Observatory in San Pedro Martir and Fortaleza Brazil.


Greg Mort

Greg Mort

Renowned artist and life-long amateur astronomer, telescope maker, and astrophotographer

Greg Mort


Greg Mort is a widely recognized leading American contemporary artist whose passion for the night sky is often the subject of his artwork.

Mort’s paintings are in many prominent collections including the Smithsonian, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Delaware Art Museum, Academy Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, and Brandywine River Museum.

A life-long amateur astronomer, telescope maker and astrophotographer Mort enjoys sharing his passion for astronomy with audiences of all ages. Mort serves on the board of the Lowell Observatory and is a frequent speaker on the intersection of art and science as well as the planet Mars.

Mort’s fascination with space and the universe weaves itself throughout his artwork. In 1983 he was recruited for the NASA Art Program. His eloquent visions of the night sky have been featured worldwide in the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition “The Artist and the Space Shuttle,” as well as in numerous magazines and books including Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. In 2004, Ann Druyan, wife of the late Dr. Carl Sagan commissioned Mort to paint Dr. Sagan’s portrait. It now hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center. You can see his work at


Babak A. Tafreshi

Babak A. Tafreshi

Founder of The World at Night or TWAN program and a photographer for the National Geographic image collection

Babak A. Tafreshi


Babak A. Tafreshi is the founder of The World at Night or TWAN program and a photographer for the National Geographic image collection, specialized in nightscape imaging, connecting the Earth and sky, bridging art and science. He is also a science journalist and astronomy communicator. He is a board member of Astronomers Without Borders and a contributing photographer for Sky & Telescope.

Born in 1978 in Iran, he lives near Boston, but as a frequent adventure traveler could be anywhere on the planet at a time, from the Sahara to the Himalayas or Antarctica. Explore his photography:

Personal website:
The World at Night:
National Geographic:
Timelapse Motions:

The World at Night and one on Sky in Motion (timelapse astrophotography), or Most
Attractive Sky Events for Photographers.


Rod Mollise

Rod Mollise

Contributing Editor at Sky & Telescope magazine

Rod Mollise


Rod is familiar to amateur astronomers as the author of numerous books and magazine articles on every aspect of astronomy, amateur and professional.

He is most well known, however, for his expertise with Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes, SCTs. Two of his books, Choosing and Using a New CAT and The Urban Astronomer’s Guide are widely known and highly regarded. He is also one of the editors of the acclaimed double-star magazine, Journal of Double Star Observations. Look for him on numerous online forums and on his popular blog, Uncle Rod’s Astro Blog.


Rick Binzel

Rick Binzel

Professor of Planetary Science at MIT & Science team member for NASA’s New Horizon Mission to Pluto

Rick Binzel


Richard P. Binzel, Professor of Planetary Science in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of the world’s leading scientists in the study of asteroids and Pluto.

Binzel, who published his first scientific paper at the age of 15, completed his Bachelor’s degree in physics at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) and received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas. In 1985 he made the first definitive observations of eclipses between Pluto and its moon Charon, verifying the moon’s existence. These eclipses provided data enabling the first direct maps of Pluto’s surface. Binzel is also credited with having established compelling evidence linking certain Earth-impacting meteorite types with specific asteroids.

In 1999, Binzel devised the ten-point Torino Impact Hazard Scale, which assigns a number to the likelihood that a newly discovered asteroid merits public concern. His ongoing telescopic research includes the spectral characterization of asteroids posing a potential hazard to Earth as well as those that may be most easily reachable by future robotic and human missions. He frequently appears on CNN and major network science documentaries explaining recent meteorite falls and the context for hazards due to asteroid impacts.

In 2010, Binzel pinpointed evidence that the surfaces of asteroids may be seismically “shaken up” during particularly close passes by the Earth.

Binzel has written two articles for Scientific American describing Pluto (June 1990) and the origin of asteroids (October 1991). Binzel was honored with a Presidential Young Investigator award from George H. Bush in 1990 and the Harold C. Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences in 1991.

He is a science team member for two NASA spacecraft missions: NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto launched in 2006 and arriving in 2015 and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission scheduled for launch in 2016. He leads the effort for students to design, build, and fly an instrument to characterize the surface of the OSIRIS-REx target asteroid.

In recognition of his excellence in undergraduate teaching at MIT, Binzel was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 1994. Asteroid number 2873 bears his name, an honor bestowed by the International Astronomical Union in recognition of his contributions to the field.

Some “live news media” events are here:

Also see BBC documentary clip:


Lake & Activities

Medomak shines during the day as well.

Medomak is located on a beautiful Maine lake that’s perfect
for swimming, paddling, sailing, fishing, or just relaxing
on the beachfront. 

Play. Relax. Indulge.

You can play tennis or basketball, shoot archery, hike the property or settle into a adirondack chair in the shade and enjoy a good book. 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.
Ping pong
Massage Therapist (on site)
Board games
Blueberry picking
Milking Perry (the cow) (optional)
Overnights at North Star Lodge
Morning walk
Stretch class
The Blue Room with Fireplace
Local Beer & Cheese Tasting
Gallery Visits
Stand Up Paddle boards

Lodging & Food


Each private, one-room cabin has a bathroom, two sinks and a separate shower. Simply put, our cabins are simple, in the New England tradition. Cabins are supplied with linens and towels for each guest. There are a few creature comforts like reading lights, rocking chairs, comfortable beds (two twin beds that can be pushed together), and a writing table. Outside each cabin you will find two adirondack chairs to enjoy the warm days and a good book.

If you are staying up late to watch the sky, it is nice to comfortably sleep in through the morning, and get a nice hot 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.

Medomak has two organic gardens that supply many of the delicious ingredients for our meals. And we also have a local organic farmer.

Milk from our cows enable us to produce fresh milk, yogurt and other dairy products. We are also commited to using fresh produce and other products produced by local farmers such as jams, fruits, honey, eggs and poultry. And, of course there is our abundant Medomak blueberry patch. Blueberry pancakes anyone?

Maine Attractions

Local Attractions

Medomak is just minutes from the picturesque towns of Rockland and Camden and a 2-hour drive from Acadia National Park. Local attractions include:

Farnsworth Museum and Wyeth Center in Rockland, Maine

Baxter State Park/Mt. Katahdin

Maine Lobster Festival – if you’re coming to camp at the end of July or the beginning of August you might want to plan a side trip to the festival.

Windjammer Schooner Tours out of the beautiful town of Camden.

Owl’s Head Transportation Museum

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Rockland Golf Course 1/2 hour from camp

Samoset Golf 1/2 hour from camp

Birch Point State Park – One of our camper’s favorite box lunch day destinations. Great tidal pools where the pines meet the Atlantic ocean.

A fun activity is to plan a sea kayaking trip with Maine Sport.

Monhegan Island is an artist colony with plenty of walking trails. Drive to the coastal town of Port Clyde and visit the lighthouse highlighted in the film “Forrest Gump”, stop in to the Dipnet for a lobster roll & root beer and take the Laura B to Monhegan Island.

Dating to the 1700’s, one of the United States’ oldest surviving wooden military buildings can be found at Old Fort Western. This is a National Historic Monument located in Augusta, Maine.

Camden Hills State Park has beautiful views of Penobscot Bay and groomed trails for hiking. Head into town to Cappy’s for their clam chowder for lunch.

Places, Restaurants and Wineries

Liberty Graphics – Everyone’s favorite 2 dollar t-shirts

Excellent community radio station broadcasted out of Blue Hill

L.L. Bean

Spruce Mountain Blueberries excellent blueberry chutney and other blueberry things.

Cellar Door Winery

Hope Spinnery is a small wind-powered fiber processing mill a few miles inland from the Coast of Maine in the town of Hope Maine. The owner, Bill Huntington, is our lead instructor at our Knitting Retreat.

Seacolors is a source for high-quality wool. All their yarns are sun dyed in seawater using colors inspired by nature. Their wool is grown on the backs of fine-wooled sheep and goats still grazing on the hills of our farmstead in Maine. The farm is located in Washington Maine.

Black Locust is a Bed and Breakfast and cashmere goat farm located in Washington Maine.

Savage Oakes Winery a great place to stop on box lunch day!

Sweet Grass Local wines and distilled brandies and gin.

Moody’s Diner featured on CBS’s Sunday morning…you gotta try the pie. Check out the Four Berry Pie, yummy!

Union pottery – Hand painted stoneware this quaint shop is close to camp. A perfect spot to pick up a Maine souvenir.

A-1 Diner in Gardiner Maine, 30 minutes from camp, has been highlighted on the Food Network’s popular show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Day-long horseback riding camps in the town of Washington.

Red’s Eats in Wiscasset. Some say they have the best lobster roll in Maine!

Sweet Season Farm, Market and Cafe…Dave’s favorite place to eat on his day off. Locally sourced produce and meat, pick your own berries and ice cream, too! Plus the best burger in the mid-coast!

Primo Restaurant in Rockland

Café Miranda in Rockland


Information on Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park area

Town of Belfast chamber of commerce site

The Maine Office of Tourism offical website.

Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, of which we are members, has great info on regional businesses and attractions.

Union Chamber of Commerce has interesting facts on the towns of Washington, Appleton, Hope and Union.

The Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau

Towns close to Washington, ME

Pictures of Pemaquid light house (most photographed spot in Maine)

The Official Flag of Washington, Maine

Other Neat Things

Old farmer’s almanac–good stuff about New England

Dave’s blog on how to choose a family camp

Maine Astronomy Retreat



May I bring my personal telescope?
Of course, this is a vacation for you and your telescope. There is plenty of space to set up and observe.

How can I store my telescope?
We provided dedicated space to store your equipment in our main activities structure. You are also welcome to store your equipment in your private cabin, as there is plenty of room.

How secure is my telescope?
Very. Medomak is private property, set several hundred yards off the main road in a secluded setting. Our retreat is limited to 40 participants, so all persons on property are very well known to management.

Do we provide telescopes for observing?
Medomak has a 12” Dobsonian mounted reflector telescope, which we keep pointed upwards all evening. Our facilitators bring along various other reflector and refractor scopes, as well. Participants are more than welcome to join us for observing, instruction, and learning.

I’ve got a great new telescope…can you help me learn how to use it?
Absolutely. Our facilitators are here to help show you how to get the most of your equipment.

Can we provide extension cords?
Medomak has a healthy supply of extension cords to supplement you in case you forget to bring your own, or yours is not long enough.

Light Etiquette

What are the rules governing use of white lights?

Car lights
No cars will be permitted beyond the parking lot after sundown. This is so you don’t light the observing fields if you need to leave the property after observing has begun.

Flash photography
No flash photography will be permitted after sundown.

Low power red light flashlights are fine as long as they are directed downward and not flashed in the eyes of observers.

Computer/Tablet/Cell Phone Screens
Devices with lit screens may only be used on the observing field if equipped with a red filter.

Is the facility Red Light equipped?
Main buildings are equipped with red bulbs. Outside cabin lights have red bulbs. Cabin interiors have a desk lamp outfitted with a red bulb. Bathrooms have night nights with red bulbs. Please refrain from using the interior overhead white lights from 30 minutes after sundown on observing nights as the lights can shine onto the observing field. We are happy to tape your light switches if you think you might absent-mindedly forget in the middle of the night.

Observing Field

How far from the cabins is the observing field?
Most are a couple hundred feet away or less”.  Others are a short walk down a hill, but right next to our dining hall and lodge

Can you describe the observing field?
The most open horizon seen from observing field favors the southern sky. The perimeter of the field does have trees, however their height is not overly tall. From the center of the observing area we estimate that approximately 80% of the sky is visible favoring the southern sky.

Is there wifi on the observing field?

Is the observing field ‘power ready’?
Our observing pad is power ready. If you choose to set up anywhere else on the field, you will need an extension cord, which we are happy to help you with.

What are the general rules of etiquette on the observing field?

Aerosols/Bug Spray
No aerosol sprays on the observing field. One drop can permanently damage the delicate optics of a telescope or binoculars. If you apply insect repellant, carefully and thoroughly wash your hands afterward.

No loud music on the observing field. If your neighboring observers ask for you to turn down your music, you will be expected to abide by their request. Headphone use is preferable.

Help us keep the facility looking nice and presentable. Please clean up after yourself. Trash cans and redeemable/recycle bins are located in the main areas and your cabin.

Smoke can be harmful to telescope optics. No smoking on the observing pad or around people’s equipment. Smoking may only take place in the designated smoking area, and NEVER in cabins or buildings.


What are the cabins like?
Cabins are simple and uninsulated, but clean and comfortable.

Are there bathrooms and showers in the cabins?
Yes, cabins have private bathrooms, and hot showers.

Do we need to bring linens?
No, we provide a pillow, blanket, sheets and towels. If you have your own favorite blanket or pillow, you might want to bring it along for your own personal comfort.

Are the cabins red light equipped?


What is the food like?
Our food is delicious! We cook in small batches, with most things from scratch. We buy most produce directly from local farmers. We are a certified dairy, and our milk comes directly from our cows on site. You can even milk them if you like. We pasteurize our milk. Sorry, we cannot provide raw milk.

Do you serve Lobster?
Of course! This is Maine!

Can we accommodate food allergies and concerns?
Yes, with appropriate notice, we can accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose free, and most other concerns. When you register, please let us know what your dietary concerns are, and we will call you to discuss how we can best accommodate.

When are meals served?

COLD Breakfast (breads, cereal, yogurt, fruit) is served from 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
HOT breakfast is available anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Lunch is served at 1:00 p.m.

Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m.

How are meals served?
Meals are served family style, plattered on the table. Help yourself, don’t be shy, and eat as much as you like.

Are there snacks and refreshments available throughout the day and into the evening?
Yes, coffee and tea are available all day and late into the night. Fresh fruit and snacks, too.

Is alcohol permissible?
Yes, but we ask that you drink in moderation, and be a good neighbor to your fellow participants.

Alcohol is BYOB. There are fantastic breweries in Maine, and we even have a local gin distillery, which is amazing.

Is there a place to store any personal food and/or beverages?
Yes, we have a common refrigerator in our dining hall that is available for your use.

Can we keep food in our cabins?
We highly discourage it, as it attracts unwanted “guests.”


What kinds of activities are available on the property and the surrounding area?
See Maine Attractions

Tell me about the lake?
Washington Pond is the centerpiece of the property. During the day, please enjoy a cool dip in the lake, a nice canoe, kayak, or sailboat excursion all around the lake. It is lovely.

Are Laundry machines available for use?
Yes, you may do laundry for $2/load (wash and dry). We provide soap.



June 5-August 31

178 Liberty Road
Washington, ME 04574
(207) 845-6001 


Until June 5

13220 Westmeath Lane
Clarksville, MD 21029
(301) 854-9100
Toll-free 1-(866)-MEDOMAK


Contact us using the form above.

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