Zion welcomes volunteer astronomer Scott Spence; stargazing opportunities

SPRINGDALE –  This week, Zion National Park welcomed volunteer astronomer Scott Spence to conduct stargazing programs for park visitors. He will be working in the park through Oct. 18.

Scott Spence
Scott Spence, date and location unknown | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Spence 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 further at the Zion Visitor Center and Zion Human History Museum. He will also be conducting a presentation at the Zion Canyon Community Center in Springdale on Tuesday at 8 p.m, which will be followed by telescope viewing outside.

In addition to Spence’s public appearances, 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. 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.

Spence is a volunteer representative of the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative. Zion is one of several Utah parks that participate in the cooperative’s programs.

To learn more about the National Park Service’s efforts to protect dark skies, and what you can do to help, visit the NPS website. For more information on stargazing activities, call the park at 435-772-3256.

Submitted by: Zion National Park

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Twitter: @STGnews

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