Grand Canyon National Park Designated as Provisional International Dark Sky Park
A public service function of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association is to accomplish environmental awareness through public outreach. Supporting public astronomical events such as star parties and hands-on demonstrations acquaints the public with the scientific nature of their home universe along with the importance of protecting the night sky from light trespass and unnecessary light intrusion.
One way TAAA performs its environmental awareness function is to team with the National Park Service and Grand Canyon National Park. TAAA founded and coordinates the astronomer participation for the world’s largest public outreach event in astronomy: the annual eight day Grand Canyon Star Party, where the astronomers achieve more than 70,000 visitor contacts.
In 2012, the Grand Canyon Association began the Dark Skies Special Project to restore dark skies to GCNP. As a combined result of the tremendous efforts of the Dark Skies project, and the public education impact of the Grand Canyon Star Parties coordinated by TAAA, the International Darksky Association designated GCNP as a Provisional International Dark Sky Park. CBS News attended the star party and prepared this special report on the importance of dark skies and the new status of Grand Canyon National Park.