International Dark Sky Discovery Center

Dori Wittrig March 3, 2021

When 80% of people on Earth can no longer see the Milky Way from where they live, it is pretty special that you can sit in your backyard in Fountain Hills and The Verdes on a clear night and pick out the faintest haze of that amazing spectacle. What makes it more amazing is that we can do this despite our proximity to a major metro area.
Fountain Hills has had a robust lighting code since its inception, so some minor updates a few years ago allowed Fountain Hills to become certified as the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community in January 2018.
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 allows Fountain Hills 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 its 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.

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