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Residency Program

Astronomer in Residence

Photo by Imma Barrera, Astronomer in Residence 2022

The Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence program spreads awareness and value around Grand Canyon’s pristine dark skies, connecting industry experts with visitors.

Milky Way at Grand Canyon by Imma Barrera
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About the Program

Grand Canyon Conservancy's Astronomer-in-Residence program supports astronomers and dark-sky advocates from various disciplines who wish to engage with the night skies of Grand Canyon and build connections with the community by sharing their expertise, instruments, and passion with the park's public.  

Astronomers, both professional and amateur, scientists from ecologists to geologists, dark-sky advocates, educators, writers, and other practitioners with expertise in the night sky are encouraged to apply. We prioritize Indigenous knowledge-keepers who focus on the night sky, and night sky practitioners from marginalized communities across the United States.

Selected astronomers live and work at the Grand Canyon South Rim in Arizona for four to eight weeks in a private one-bedroom apartment above the historic Verkamp's Visitor Center overlooking the Canyon. In addition to free live/workspace, a stipend is offered to offset the costs of travel, food, and supplies. Residents have first-hand access to the natural beauty of Grand Canyon National Park, park leadership, staff expertise, on-site resources, archives, and visitors from around the world.

HOW TO APPLY 

 Applications for 2025 residencies will be available from May 15 – July 15, 2024.

Minute Out In It Videos

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Astronomer in Residence: Lauren Camp

During her residency, New Mexico’s Poet Laureate, Lauren Camp explored the subtle emotions, aesthetic qualities, and complex thoughts we feel when under the vastness of the night skies. Spend a ‘Minute Out in It’ listening to Lauren read one of her Canyon-inspired night sky poems. Video by NPS R/Lane. 

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Astronomer in Residence: Dr. Jennifer Hoffman

Hoffman enjoys exploring the connections between science and art, history, storytelling, and other ways humans experience the world. During her residency, she gave several interactive programs that connected visitors with the cyclical changes in the sky. Spend a Minute Out In It observing the change of the season from Hopi Point. Video by NPS R/Lane

2024 Residencies

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February 8 – 26

Dr. Adeene Denton

During her time at the Canyon, Denton will be working on a short site-specific dance that explores the geologic history of the Grand Canyon, the formation of planets, and how we as humans physically embody those same forces to build deeper connections with the world around us.

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March 4 – 31

Dr. Ashley Pagnotta

Combining her love of dark skies and fiber arts, Pagnotta will be working with park visitors on a fiber-based dark sky map that highlights light pollution levels throughout the world.

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September 23 – November 4

Dr. David Koerner

During his time at Grand Canyon, Dr. Koerner will be working on a book that connects individuals with vast stretches of time, and writing musical compositions that emotively represent significant periods of time in Grand Canyon’s sky and strata.

Astronomer in Residence Alumni

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Dr. Cameron Hummels

Astronomer in Residence, 2023

Dr. Cameron Hummels is a computational astrophysicist at Caltech. His research uses supercomputers to simulate how galaxies like our own Milky Way form and evolve over billions of years. In addition to his scientific work, Dr. Hummels acts as Director of Astronomy Outreach at Caltech. As a professional scientist and science communicator, Dr. Hummels focused his time at Grand Canyon on engaging visitors in science education.He hosted a series of live presentations, including: “Understanding the Formation and Evolution of Galaxies;” “Black Holes;” “Space Exploration;” “Meteor Showers and the Birth of the Solar System;” “Understanding Our Moon;” “The Search for Life in the Universe;” and “The Science of Star Wars.” He also led several “Astronomy on Taps” around the park.

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Kevin Schindler

Astronomer in Residence, 2023

Kevin Schindler is the historian and Public Information Officer at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he has worked for 28 years. Schindler contributes a bi-weekly astronomy column, “View from Mars Hill,” for the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper and has authored seven books, including Images of America: Northern Arizona Space Training, which features a chapter about the Grand Canyon. Schindler's residency focused on researching and sharing NASA’s Apollo Astronauts’ connections with the region in preparation for their historic missions to the Moon. During his residency, Schindler hosted several public programs that enhanced our visitor's understanding of the Grand Canyon's importance in the history of space exploration. 

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Dr. Jennifer Hoffman

Astronomer in Residence, 2023

Dr. Jennifer L. Hoffman is a professor and astronomer at the University of Denver, where she holds the Womble Chair of Astronomy and directs DU's historic Chamberlin Observatory. She earned her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin and held a National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Berkeley. Hoffman's research focuses on the connections between massive stars and their supernova descendants. During her residency, Dr. Hoffman conducted a sunset mapping project at Hopi Point, provided a week of moon walks for hundreds of visitors, presented her research to a crowd of 200 in Grand Canyon Visitor Center Theater, provided a talk about careers in astronomy to 6th-8th graders at Grand Canyon School, and hosted two nights of constellation talks and telescope viewing at Phantom Ranch.

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Dr. Daniel Fleisch

Astronomer in Residence, 2022

Dan Fleisch is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics at Wittenberg University, where he specializes in electromagnetics and space physics. He is the author of the internationally best-selling book A Student’s Guide to Maxwell’s Equations, published by Cambridge University Press in January 2008 and translated into Japanese, Korean, Italian, and Chinese. While at Grand Canyon, Dr. Fleisch spent his time presenting more than 20 unique public programs on many aspects of astronomy, from moons and planets to cosmology and Black Holes. He reached over 3,000 visitors from his formal programs, and countless more through informal solar-observing sessions, pop-up telescope viewing, and constellation talks along the rim of the Canyon.

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Lauren Camp

Astronomer in Residence, 2022

New Mexico Poet Laureate Lauren Camp is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020). Her work has been translated into Turkish, Mandarin, Serbian, Arabic and Spanish. Lauren lives in New Mexico, where she teaches through the state’s Poetry Out Loud program and her own community workshops. During her residency, Lauren spent her time writing poetry about night skies and natural darkness. She offered a few public poetry readings under the stars, which were followed by constellation talks given by park rangers. Lauren also collected poetry from visitors, asking thought-provoking questions about darkness in experimental installations throughout the park. She compiled the responses into collective poems.

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Imma Barrera

Astronomer in Residence, 2022

Born in Barcelona, Barrera is based in New Jersey, Imma Barrera is a biologist and a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography who has exhibited her photographs in galleries worldwide. Her favorite subject to photograph is landscapes from dusk to dawn, including astrophotography. Barrera has been selected for several National Park Artist in Residence programs (Acadia National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Glacier National Park) for her night sky photography. While at Grand Canyon, Imma spent her time photographing the stars from all around the park, creating several fine art night sky photographs from the South Rim, Desert View, Phantom Ranch, North Rim, and Tuweep. She also conducted formal and informal night sky photography workshops for visitors and employees.

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Dean Regas

Astronomer in Residence, 2021

Renowned educator, author, and astronomy expert Dean Regas has been the astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory since 2000 and was co-host of the PBS program “Star Gazers” from 2010 to 2019. Regas has written over 150 astronomy articles for the Cincinnati Enquirer, has blogged for the Huffington Post, and is regularly featured on television and radio. He is also a frequent guest on National Public Radio’s Science Friday and NPR’s Here & Now, and hosts his own astronomy podcast with Anna Hehman called “Looking Up!” During his residency, Dean spent his time providing public programs for visitors both on the rim and in the canyon at Phantom Ranch. His goal was to connect visitors to the canyon's dark skies, sharing his passion for astronomy and the universe through telescope viewings, tabling, and constellation talks.

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Dr. Tyler Nordgren

Astronomer in Residence, 2021

Dr. Tyler Nordgren is a professional astronomer and artist. He holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Cornell University, where he did work on dark matter, as well as a B.A. in Physics from Reed College. For over a decade, he has worked with the National Park Service to turn the national parks into the single largest source for public science and astronomy education in the world. His popular science book “Stars Above, Earth Below: A guide to astronomy in the national parks,” reveals what visitors to America’s national parks can observe in their dark night skies. As Grand Canyon's first Astronomer in Residence, Tyler spent his time at the canyon interacting with visitors, photographing and illustrating the night sky, and sharing tips for experiencing the park after dark.

Questions?

Contact us for additional information.

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Clover Morell

Residency Program Manager, Grand Canyon Conservancy