This weekend, students in Nightscapes, one of the required courses for the Dark Sky Studies minor, visited Helper, Utah to learn more about the importance of preserving the night sky. Helper is the 2nd city in Utah and 25th city in the world to be designated as an International Dark Sky Community, recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association as a place noteworthy for its quality night skies and commitment to protecting natural darkness. During the field trip, led by Professors Daniel Mendoza and Kate Magargal, students were able to apply concepts learned throughout the course in a hands-on setting.
Students in Nightscapes had the opportunity throughout the semester to develop project proposals related to the preservation of the night sky that were presented to community stakeholders during the visit to Helper. The class also had the opportunity to observe the night sky with Helper's Dark Sky Observers Club and got a tour of the historic city from the current mayor, Lenise Peterman, who has been instrumental in the revitalization of Helper's historic Main Street and the city's dark sky efforts. Additionally, the class was able to collect light measurements throughout the city in order to learn more about light pollution, observe Helper's successes in dark sky preservation, and provide recommendations for possible improvement.
Interested in learning more about the Dark Sky Studies minor? Learn more here!