Mont Mégantic

Mont Mégantic is a “monadnock” (an isolated rock hill or small mountain rising abruptly from a gently sloping plain) located in Québec, Canada, about 15 km north of the border with Maine and New Hampshire. Its summit is the highest point of the regional county municipality of Le Haut-Saint-François in Québec. Many geologists believe that Mont Mégantic is a member of the Monteregian Hills formed by the New England hotspot, as it has the same mechanism and depth of intrusion, and is the approximate geographic centre of the Mont-Mégantic National Park which was created in 1994. The park terrain is characteristic of the frontier mountains in the Appalachia region. Mont Mégantic is one of four peaks that are accessible by hiking trails, is the tenth highest mountain in Quebec, and is the highest peak accessible by car. At the summit is the tiny St. Joseph Chapel (pictured below).

Located at its peak is the Mont Mégantic Observatory, which is the most important astronomical observatory in eastern Canada. It hosts a 1.6 m diameter telescope, the most powerful of this type in North America. If conditions permit, naked-eye observations are possible through the telescope during the Mont Mégantic Astronomy Festival, an event that usually takes place in early July. On September 21, 2007, following sustained efforts to reduce light pollution in the region of Mont-Mégantic, it has been recognized as the first international Dark-sky preserve by the International Dark-Sky Association. Five hundred feet below the scientific observatory is the Observatoire populaire du Mont-Mégantic (OPMM). Equipped with a telescope of 61 cm in diameter, it is one of the largest observatories in the world built for use by the public. It is operated by ASTROLab of the Mont-Mégantic National Park. ASTROLab is a museum and activity centre for public astronomy. There are exhibitions and a star cinema and at night, two public observatories, several telescopes and other observational instruments are available for public use.

  • Visited: Oct 2010

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