international dark sky discovery center

International Dark Sky Discovery Center to Break Ground in Fountain Hills

International Dark Sky Discovery Center, a nonprofit STEM-based facility, will commence construction in Fountain Hills in March 2024. The Discovery Center will feature a Dark Sky Observatory, Hyperspace Planetarium, Inspiration Theater, a Night Sky Experience Exhibit Hall and an Einstein Exploration Station.

Spanning an impressive 23,000 square feet, the Discovery Center, designed by Swaback Architecture and constructed by McCarthy Builders, stands as a nonprofit STEM science facility. Its mission extends beyond traditional astronomy, encompassing dark-sky preservation, research and protection of nocturnal animals. 

At the heart of the Dark Sky Observatory will lie the largest telescope in the Greater Phoenix Area, sparking discussions with Arizona State University. “As a leader in STEM education and space exploration, ASU is excited by the creation of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center,” says ASU President Michael M. Crow, in a press release. “The Center reinforces Arizona’s commitment to expanding our understanding of the universe, and we look forward to working with them to advance new research and learning opportunities.”

Beyond its scientific pursuits, the International Dark Sky Discovery Center is driven by a mission to preserve dark skies – a crucial objective for Arizona’s commitment to astronomy. “Dark skies are an increasingly important part of Arizona’s tourism offerings, and the Discovery Center admirably represents our state’s dedication to astronomical research and education,” says Lisa Urias, executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, in a recent press release.

Achieving designation as an International Dark Sky Community is a rare feat, especially for a location near a major metropolitan area. “Fountain Hills is the perfect location for the Discovery Center,” says John Kavanagh, State Senator, in a press release. “With its dark skies and proximity to millions of people, the Center will benefit the entire state of Arizona.”

Once open, the Discovery Center will introduce children and adults alike to the wonders of the cosmos and provide a better understanding of the universe.

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