Overview of the project

Project leader: Chad Moore, chad_moore@nps.gov
Project location: United States

Project description:
The United States National Park Service (NPS) aims to create an internship for a current astronomy student or recent astronomy graduate to develop their leadership in astronomy communication while simultaneously enhancing the public outreach programs of the parks.

Over the course three months, the intern will collaborate with 1-3 National Parks, leading astronomy outreach programs and acting as an astronomy liaison for the park interpretive rangers and astronomy volunteers. In this time, the intern will contribute their knowledge of astronomy with park staff, while learning the interpretive philosophies of NPS. The internship will conclude with up to one month of collaboration at the NPS Night Skies Division at their headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the intern will assist with special projects at the national level.

This internship will serve as a pilot project for a larger initiative to link astronomy, physics, planetary science and cultural astronomy majors and graduates to public lands. Dark night skies are an increasingly rare part of our national heritage, and through this internship we aim to connect astronomy students and the public with this valuable resource.

The NPS may have the largest public astronomy effort of any other organization in the United States. An estimated 400,000 – 600,000 visitors annually participate in astronomy-related presentations, including ranger talks, telescope viewing, and other interactive programs.

Since 2009 the NPS Night Skies Team has grown in coordination and support of these events, and park managers are finding that such programs are increasingly in high demand.

The extensive scope of our outreach and the continued growth of these programs necessitates the implementation of structures that will help advance the quality of these programs. The NPS Night Skies Internship Program will address this concern while simultaneously allowing for the growth of scientific
communication skills of a young astronomer.

About the project leader:
Mr. Chad Moore is Team Leader of the US National Park Service, Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division, Night Skies Team. He has been involved in the protection of the scientific resource of dark night skies for 15 years, which spans several disciplines including photometry, light pollution modeling, lighting engineering, and various forms of education and outreach.