2021 Dark Sky Inspiration Series

2021 Dark Sky Inspiration Series

Join us each month to learn more about the night sky and light pollution and get inspired to connect to our life under a starry sky.

DECEMBER 2021: Hubble Telescope with Tony Pistilli

Named after Edwin Hubble, who was the first to prove that there are many galaxies in the universe in 1924, the Hubble Space Telescope is nearing its third decade. It extends our reach more that 15 billion light-years away. Join us for a look at the Hubble’ s origins, explorations, and discoveries.  BONUS: Hubble is getting a big brother,  the James Webb Space Telescope launching on December 18, 2021. It’s 2.5 times larger than Hubble, and will sit 1.5 million miles from earth.

SEPTEMBER 2021: Mayan Archaeoastronomy with Dr. Anthony Aveni

This presentation is an interview that Vicky Derksen did with Dr. Aveni for her Night Sky Tourist podcast. She chats with Dr. Aveni about Mayan archaeoastronomy, a field of study he founded decades ago and taught about as a university professor. They also discuss Mayan timekeeping and their apocalyptic worldview.
Dr. Aveni is an astrophysicist and anthropologist. He recently retired as a professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American studies at Colgate University, where he had taught since 1963. Aveni helped develop the field of archaeoastronomy and is one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy. He had done extensive research on the astronomical history of the Maya Indians of Mexico and has done similar research in North America, Peru, Israel, Italy, and Greece. He is also the author or contributing author for more than thirty-five books.

AUGUST 2021: From LEDs to Satellites: Ground-based & Space-based Challenges to Dark Skies

Dr. Jeffrey Hall, director of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, is a wealth of knowledge about the challenges ahead when it comes to light pollution in our cities and the new issues caused by mega satellite constellations that are beginning to fill our sky in low Earth orbit. He has played an active role in dark sky preservation efforts across Arizona. Dr. Hall’s astrophysics research includes long-term monitoring of the activities of the Sun and other Sun-like stars. This research also touches on the solar effects on climate.


JULY 2021: Bats & Artificial Light at Night

In this month’s video presentation, Lisa Miller highlights bats as amazing nocturnal creatures and illustrates the impacts of artificial light on different groups of bats. Light pollution does more than just block our view of the stars at night. It also impacts all life on Earth.

Lisa has dedicated much of her life to the education, inspiration, and entertainment of others about the natural world. She frequently gives talks about bird nests, native cacti, and the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert. She is a master steward with the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and serves on the board of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association


JUNE 2021: Lunaverse & Beyond

Our board president, Scott Adams, is a talented astrophotographer. This video is a collection of some of his images set to beautiful music. ENJOY!


MAY 2021: Astrotourism with Bill Hinz (ADERO Scottsdale)

When Copperwynd expanded and transitioned to ADERO Scottsdale, the new resort was branded as a dark sky resort. Their theme “Where the Desert Meets the Sky” can be seen in everything from the name of their restaurant, Cielo, to the names of dishes and cocktails, to the Star Dudes who provide telescope viewing on the grass each month.

Our board president, Scott Adams, did a Zoom interview with Bill Hinz, owner of ADERO Scottsdale. They talk about astrotourism in Fountain Hills and what the resort offers guests to connect them with the night sky.


APRIL 2021: International Dark Sky Week

International Dark Sky Week is April 5-12, 2021, and we are thrilled to participate in this global event with the following presentations.


Congratulations to each winner!


The Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association began the Dark Sky Defender Award to recognize businesses and organizations who took action to protect the night sky with smart lighting practices. Learn more about the program and the program’s first recipients.

In addition to those shown in the video, we’ve awarded our own Ted Blank for his tireless effort to correct the offensive light glare from the bollards at Fountain Park. After gaining unanimous approval from Town Council, Ted assembled a group of volunteers and accumulated donated supplies to paint the shiny reflectors of the bollards a flat black. The feedback from residents has been remarkable. Ted is well-deserving of the Dark Sky Defender Award!

Dark Sky Defender Award

Congratulations, Ted!


Nick DePorzio is a graduate of Fountain Hills High School and is now working on his PhD in Physics at Harvard University. His focus is on cosmology, astrophysics, and particle physics.

What is dark matter? What is dark energy? What evidence do we have that these things exist? In this talk, Nick answers these questions and explores how we might observe the existence of these dark substances using relatively low-cost equipment and methods readily available to schools and hobbyist astronomers.



Marsha Diane Arnold is an award-winning children’s book author. Her book “Lights Out!” beautifully introduces the topic of light pollution to young readers. To commemorate International Dark Sky Week, she has joined us to do a storytime with her book.

Gather your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbor kids, and students for this fun story.

Thank you, Diane!


The Vice President of our board, Vicky Derksen, shares a great way to do your own Dark Sky Lighting makeover on your home. You’ll enjoy the dramatic images of how lighting glare creates safety issues while smarter lighting practices create a beautiful home and yard.

Thank you for joining us for International Dark Sky Week. For more great resources and other IDSW events around the world, visit https://idsw.darksky.org.

MARCH 2021: Birds and Artificial Light at Night

Light pollution does more than block our view of the stars. It can also have devastating effects on migrating birds. The National Audobon Society has shared this presentation with us for our Dark Sky Inspiration series.

Connie Sanchez is the program manager for Audobon’s Bird-Friendly Buildings  Program. She focuses on creating awareness of the hazards birds face as they navigate the built environment, including glass and lights, leading to collisions. She works closely with the Audubon network across the country to build and enhance the tools to create change in local communities. 

John Rowden joined Audubon in 2009 when he was hired by New York City Audubon to direct community science and outreach for the chapter throughout the city. In 2013, he transitioned to the National Audubon Society and now serves as Audubon’s director of community conservation and senior director for the Bird-Friendly Communities Program.

FEBRUARY 2021: How to Choose Dark Sky-Friendly Lighting Fixtures for Your Home

In this highly entertaining video, you will learn how the right lighting fixture can make your eyes happier while also reducing your contribution to light pollution. Mark Derksen is the owner of Dirk’s Electric and a member of our Board of Directors. He is a dark sky lighting expert and, as you’ll see in this video, a bit of a comedian.

Through the combined efforts of the Town of Fountain Hills and the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association, Fountain Hills was designated as the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community on January 8, 2018. This paved the way for another great effort, the proposed International Dark Sky Discovery Center. The group kicked off its capital fundraising campaign in January 2021 with this stunning video: