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Fountain Hills To Be Site Of Dark Sky Discovery Center

Fountain Hills will be the site of an International Dark Sky Discovery Center, a research complex that will be available to local schools, researchers and the public. It also will be home to the Valley’s largest telescope.

The lights of Phoenix make stargazing difficult in most of the Valley, but Fountain Hills is located near Tonto National Forest, two tribal communities and the McDowell Mountains.

In 2018, Fountain Hills became an International Dark Sky Community.

It will soon host a facility for everything from university research to star parties.

“There is a growing worldwide movement in dark sky preservation," said Joe Bill, a spokesman for a nonprofit group coordinating the project. "We’re a part of that process, and want to educate the people on how important it is to human health, animal health, even things like nocturnal pollinators, which are very important, are adversely impacted by artificial light.”

The Arizona Legislature has committed $2.5 million to architectural design of the center.

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Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.