Arizona’s Dark Sky Discovery Center to Break Ground With Solar Eclipse Watch Party

Rendering of the International Dark Sky Discovery Center in Fountain Hills, Ariz.

The International Dark Sky Discovery Center (IDSDC) in Fountain Hills, Ariz., will break ground on April 8, marking a significant milestone in the preservation of our night skies.

This historic day will be celebrated with community enthusiasm, educational outreach and a rare astronomical event. As the moon casts its shadow over the sun, a rare solar eclipse that won’t grace North American skies for another two decades will take place over Arizona. The Discovery Center’s groundbreaking event will coincide with the solar eclipse in Fountain Hills, Ariz., promising to ignite dreams of faraway stars and galaxies. 

Visitors can partake in the center’s eclipse-watching party and groundbreaking ceremony that is set to start at 11 a.m. at the future site of the IDSDC at 13001 N. La Montana Drive in Fountain Hills. As the eclipse peaks at 11:20 a.m., attendees will witness a breathtaking celestial event, and help usher in a new landmark for the world of astronomy. 

Community leaders, students and enthusiasts will gather as the IDSDC Board, having already raised over $19 million towards their $25 million goal, takes the first step towards accomplishing this ambitious project. With 200 protective eyewear glasses distributed and a telescope specially equipped to view the eclipse, the event promises safety, education and awe.

Nestled near a bustling metropolitan area, yet bathed in the serene light of the stars, Fountain Hills stands as the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community. The center aims to serve as a hub for dark sky preservation and a testament to the community’s dedication to this cause.

The 23,000-square-foot facility will feature a 20.5-foot domed observatory housing a 27.5-inch PlaneWave telescope, a 65-seat planetarium with cutting-edge laser imagery, a versatile 150-seat theater and a “Night Sky Experience” exhibit hall filled with interactive displays. This multifaceted environment ensures that the IDSDC will educate and enchant visitors of all ages, from young students to university scholars and casual stargazers to serious astronomers.

“My hope is by that time the IDSDC will be an Arizona icon known around the world as a place that enables sky watchers of all ages to learn more about the observable universe,” says IDSDC Board President Joe Bill.

As the IDSDC moves towards its fundraising goals, it offers both donation opportunities and naming rights to those who wish to be part of this exciting venture. The center, a testament to the beauty of the night sky, serves as a crucial educational resource in an area that is in need of observatories equipped for serious research.

For more information, to donate or to learn how you can be part of this landmark project, visit

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