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Astronomer to host viewing parties at Zion National Park

Published September 13, 2013 1:56 pm

Dark skies • Scott Spence also will assess park buildings to reduce light pollution.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An astronomer at Zion National Park will be on hand through Oct. 18 to show visitors the night sky and a close-up look at the sun.

Scott Spence, a volunteer representative of the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative, will host informal day and night viewing sessions at various locations throughout the park. Those interested in attending should inquire about the programs at the Zion Visitor Center and Zion Human History Museum during their visit, according to park officials.

During his stay, Spence also will conduct a lighting inventory of park buildings to help Zion protect its dark skies from light pollution.

"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," said Zion spokeswoman Aly Baltrus in a statement.

The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative is 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," according to the cooperative.

Spence will host a presentation at the Canyon Community Center in Springdale Tueday at 8 p.m., followed by a telescope viewing party.

smcfarland@sltrib.com

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