PRESS RELEASE: KEVIN SCHINDLER SERVES AS ASTRONOMER IN RESIDENCE AT GRAND CANYON
Lowell Historian & Public Information Officer Kevin Schindler has just returned from his 1-month tour of duty as Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence, during which he hosted 30 public outreach events, continued his research on Apollo astronaut training at Grand Canyon, and worked to build partnerships with the National Park Service and Grand Canyon Conservancy.
Flagstaff, AZ. – Grand Canyon Conservancy’s (GCC) Astronomer-in-Residence program supports astronomers and dark-sky advocates from various disciplines that wish to engage with the night skies of the Grand Canyon and build connections with the community by sharing their expertise, instruments, and passion with the park’s public.
During his tenure as Astronomer in Residence, Kevin hosted presentations, telescope observing sessions, and tours for park visitors. His programs focused largely on the Grand Canyon’s instrumental role as a training ground for the astronauts of the Apollo Moon Mission, as well as the importance of preserving dark skies for future generations. Other programs included a simultaneous viewing of the Sun and Moon from the top of John Wesley Powell Monument, and a talk on the wild burros in the canyon that were considered pests until the titular character of the 1967 film Brighty of the Grand Canyon shifted the public’s perception.
In addition to his public outreach efforts, Kevin continued research for an ongoing project that retraces the footsteps of the Apollo astronauts during their time at the Grand Canyon. The end result will be a work that contrasts the canyon’s past and present through photographs and historical accounts.
“Going to the Grand Canyon is inspirational,” says Kevin, “but living at the canyon is life-altering, because you’re immersed in it. Even at the rim, waking up every day and looking at it changes your perspective. You look at layers of rock, and you’re looking back in time. You look up at starlight, and you’re looking back in time. The apparent uniformity and stability of the rocks is the same with the stars. Every night they’re in the same place, but if you look closely there’s chaos and disturbance. There’s a lot of connection I was able to pick up on by being there.”
Kevin states that he feels very fortunate to have been selected for the Astronomer in Residence program and hopes that it continues to grow. He will be on the selection committee for the next round of applicants. To learn more about the GCC’s Astronomer in Residence program, visit grandcanyon.org/astronomer-in-residence.