Zion National Park Hosts a Volunteer Astronomer
Contact: Aly Baltrus, 435-772-0160
This week, Zion National Park welcomed volunteer astronomer Scott Spence to conduct astronomy programs for park visitors. Mr. Spence will be working in the park through October 18. While in the park he will conduct informal day and night viewing sessions using solar-scopes and telescopes. These sessions will take place at various times and locations throughout the park. Interested visitors should inquire about these programs at the Zion Visitor Center and Zion Human History Museum during their visit to the park. Spence will also be conducting a presentation at the Canyon Community Center in Springdale on Tuesday, September 17 at 8pm. The presentation will be followed by telescope viewing outside.
In addition to Spence's work with the public, he is working with Zion to complete a lighting inventory of park buildings and facilities. The information he gathers will be used to inform park management of further steps that can be taken to protect dark skies in Zion National Park. Night sky friendly outdoor lighting is more efficient, results in improved visibility and safety, and reduces energy costs. It also benefits nocturnal animals and helps maintain wildlife corridors and ecosystem health.
Scott Spence comes to Zion as a volunteer representative of the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative. According to the Cooperative, they are "a geographic region where public lands, tribes, communities, businesses, schools, clubs, and citizens join to support a set of principles resulting in mutual benefits and the long term conservation of our starry night heritage." Zion National Park is one of several Utah parks that participate in the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative.
To learn more information about National Park Service efforts to protect the dark skies, and to learn what you can do to help, go to http://www.nature.nps.gov/night.