Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence


About the Program 

Grand Canyon Conservancy (GCC) seeks solo astronomers, artists, educators, scientists, and other practitioners from around the world who wish to share their expertise, research, and reflections on one of the most pristine night skies in the United States, the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

The Astronomer-in-Residence (ASTiR) Program at Grand Canyon National Park offers astronomers, both amateur and professional; educators, scientists, visual and performing artists, and writers, the opportunity to practice and share their discipline under one of the most pristine night skies in the United States. Through artwork and educational outreach, the ASTiR inspires visitors to see the values of dark night skies, spreads awareness about the threats of light pollution, and explores society’s complex relationships with natural darkness.

Selected residents live and work at the historic Verkamp’s artist residence at Grand Canyon National Park for a 6-week period and receive a stipend of $2,000 to cover the costs of food, travel, and supplies. 

*Please note: shorter residencies will be considered and stipends pro-rated accordingly.


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Upcoming Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence: Dr. Jennifer Hoffman

March 8 - April 19, 2023

Meet Dr. Jennifer Hoffman

Professor and astronomer Dr. Jennifer Hoffman will be the next Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence. She will be living and working at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park from March 8 to April 19, 2023.

Jennifer L. Hoffman is a professor and astronomer at the University of Denver (DU), 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 before joining the Department of Physics & Astronomy at DU. Hoffman's research focuses on the connections between massive stars and their supernova descendants, in particular on the role of binary stars in shaping the eventual explosions. She uses a combination of polarized light observations and 3-D computational simulations to explore these research questions.

Hoffman enjoys exploring the connections between science and art, music, history, storytelling, and all the other ways that humans experience their relationship with the world. In her interwoven roles as a researcher, educator, mentor, and science communicator, she seeks to strengthen these connections and build social ecosystems that support all community members in creative and meaningful engagement with scientific ideas. 

Dr. Hoffman also works to expand opportunities and remove barriers to participation in physics and astronomy for people from minoritized groups. Most recently, she co-directs DU SciTech, a summer STEM camp for middle-school girls of color, and partners with the DU's Society of Physics Students and the Denver Astronomical Society to bring astronomy experiences to a broad audience in Denver. 

During her residency, Dr. Hoffman will work with visitors to develop a Sunset Map, a Shadow Path, and a Moon Panorama for the Spring Equinox. An interactive display will allow guests to record daily observations of the Sun’s position visually or in tactile form. This will create a large map or artwork incorporating contributions from visitors on different dates, showing celestial changes over time.

Photo of Dr. Jennifer Hoffman

Meet Our Past Residents

What you need to know before applying

The program is similar to the Artist in Residence Program hosted by various national parks. The difference is that the primary focus is on night skies, astronomy, and the various disciplines studying natural darkness. Not only are artists encouraged to apply, the Astronomer in Residence Program also invites educators, advocates, scientists, and other outreach disciplines to share their expert knowledge, inspiration, and equipment with park visitors. The goal is for the applicant to be inspired by the night skies at Grand Canyon and to share that inspiration with park visitors as well as with their own followers.

The Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence is offered in three or week intervals. The resident can choose which timeframe they would like to be on-site. A minimum of three weeks is required, with a maximum of four. There is a base stipend of $1,500 for the first three weeks, then a stipend of $250 if the applicant chooses to stay an extra week. 

Partners, spouses, and guests for the duration of the residency will generally not be permitted. Exceptions to this policy will be evaluated on an individual and based on the person’s critical role to the resident and their work.

The resident will work and live on-site at Grand Canyon National Park for the duration of their residency. Residents will be staying in the historic Verkamp's Visitor Center, overlooking Grand Canyon.

The building has a separate entrance and shares space with Grand Canyon Conservancy’s retail location. The residence is located up a flight of stairs with no elevator access. One designated outdoor parking space is assigned nearby for the residency program. The building is equipped with a kitchen, living room, private bathroom, bedroom, bedding, air conditioning, and small workspace. Please note that the kitchen does not have an oven, but an air fryer is available. Also, there is no washer or dryer at the apartment, and laundry services within the Park will need to be accessed. A small storage space is available for bikes or small equipment. The resident will need to provide their own lock. No full-sized television, computer, or streaming device is available, however, there is a small monitor and DVD player, no DVDs are provided. 

Please note: Verkamp’s Visitor Center is a historic building located on the rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Because of this, connectivity and internet is limited and primarily supports critical retail functions. The resident will have access to the internet during their stay, but the bandwidth will only support basic internet needs such as web browsing, emails, and social media. The resident will need to plan for intermittent outages and availability. If a resident should require a certain level of bandwidth or data to support multiple devices, streaming, audio, video, etc. the resident will need to provide this at their own expense. 

Exterior of historic Verkamp's building.

The chosen applicant is asked to donate night-sky-inspired content, whether physical, digital, or educational, to the park and Grand Canyon Conservancy. The proposed quantity of donated content will depend on the medium and will be partly-offered by the resident in the application process, partly-negotiated with park staff based on the needs of the park. The specifics of copyright, donation process, and other legalities are outlined in the contract.

A minimum number of public presentations and outreach efforts will be determined based on the discipline of the chosen applicant. If the applicant is an artist, then at least one public presentation will be required. If the applicant is a public educator, then proposals for virtual outreach or staff training will be negotiated.

Grand Canyon National Park is located high on the Colorado Plateau, far from the lights of large cities, in the dry desert southwest. Combined with the clean air and clear skies, Grand Canyon National Park protects some of the most pristine night skies in the United States.

In 2019, Grand Canyon National Park was certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. Later that year, the park received the award for International Dark Sky Place of the Year. These distinctions were the culmination of a long history of night sky appreciation at Grand Canyon National Park.

The Astronomer in Residence program is made possible because of support and grants to Grand Canyon Conservancy. Donations to this program will help fund future astronomers’ work in residency as they celebrate and preserve Grand Canyon's dark skies.


Learn more about the program

Questions regarding this program? Contact us for additional information.