HAC Events Calendar
Kartchner Caverns Star Party
Solar from 1200-1700. Speaker from 1730-1830. Nightime viewing as long as it lasts. Admission to the park is $7, the star party is free.
Arizona's Night Skies: Past, Present, and Future
Dark night skies loom large in Arizona’s history, and are part of why the Grand Canyon State became known as a global mecca for astronomy and space science. Access to natural nighttime darkness remains an important issue in Arizona’s current politics and plays a role in its future, as light pollution from its cities reaches ever further into the corners of our state. I will review the archaeological and historical evidence for astronomy in Arizona’s past, its development into an astronomy powerhouse in the 20th century, and threats to our night skies posed by population growth and land development in the 21st. Finally, I will offer listeners some practical tips on simple things they can do to help preserve Arizona’s heritage of dark night skies.
John Barentine is an Arizona native and comes from the “dark side” of science — professional astronomy. He grew up in Phoenix and was involved in amateur astronomy there from grade school. Later, he attended the University of Arizona, beginning research in jobs at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories and National Solar Observatory headquarters in Tucson. From 2001-06 he was on the staff of Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, serving first as an observing specialist on the Astrophysical Research Consortium 3.5-meter telescope and then as an observer for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
He obtained a master’s degree in physics at Colorado State University and a master’s and Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. John has contributed to science in fields ranging from solar physics to galaxy evolution while helping develop hardware for ground-based and aircraft-borne astronomy. Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach efforts to help increase the public understanding of science. In addition to his work for IDA, John is a member of the steering committee of the University of Utah Consortium for Dark Sky Studies and the International Union for Conservation of Nature Dark Skies Advisory Group.
John is the author of two books on the history of astronomy, The Lost Constellations and Uncharted Constellations. The asteroid (14505) Barentine is named in his honor. His interests outside of astronomy and dark skies include history, art/architecture, politics, law and current events.