Did you know that 80% of people on Earth can no longer see the Milky Way where they live? That makes Fountain Hills and The Verdes pretty special. We can see so many stars on a clear night, and sometimes we can get lucky and pick out the faintest glimpse of the Milky Way. It’s even more special given our proximity to a major metro area.
Fountain Hills was certified as an International Dark Sky Community in January 2018. Part of our success in earning that designation was the robust lighting code we’ve had since our inception. The Verdes also benefit from less lighting than most municipalities.
Joe and Nancy Bill, with the help of dedicated volunteers, led this effort through the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association. But their dream did not stop there.
“The designation gives Fountain Hills an opportunity to create a unique science-based facility,” Joe Bill said. “The International Dark Sky Discovery Center will have a Dark Sky Observatory housing the largest telescope in the Greater Phoenix area, a Hyperspace Planetarium, an Inspiration Theater, and an Immersion Zone with mixed reality and gamification experiences.”
No other facility in the world ties the importance of dark sky preservation to the study of astronomy, the space program, the universe, and life on earth. The fun and engaging learning approaches will provide awesome STEM education experiences, serve as an attraction for all ages, and inspire everyone to fall in love with the dark.
The IDSDC just launched their capital fundraising campaign for this privately funded public facility in January with enthusiastic support from the Town of Fountain Hills, ASU, the Arizona Office of Tourism, and many more entities. The support statements from many leaders in the state demonstrate that they understand this facility can benefit the entire state of Arizona. The IDSDC will not be a Fountain Hills attraction. It will be an international attraction in Fountain Hills.
Learn more at DarkSkyCenter.org.