Half the Park is after Dark

I am an artist and an educator. In 1997 I earned a PhD in astronomy from Cornell University and went on to be an astronomer at the U.S Naval Observatory, Lowell Observatory and then a professor of astronomy at the University of Redlands in California. Educating the public about the wonders of the universe is what I love to do and since 2007 it has been a pleasure to do that through my art. In the 1930s the federal government used art to educate the public through the Works Progress Administration art program. I do the same today through my WPA-inspired posters that, like the "See America" campaign of the '30s, today encourages the public to see the beauty our national parks preserve at night when the Sun goes down. Astronomy ranger programs are now the most popular programs the parks offer and for that reason these posters highlight the danger that "light pollution" now poses to the half of the park that is after dark.

These posters began, and indeed my life as a professional artist began, as a single illustration I needed for my 2010 book, Stars Above, Earth Below: a guide to astronomy in the national parks. I had no money to pay an artist, and so I drew a "poster" in the 1930s style so associated with national parks. As park rangers across the country bought my book, they began contacting me to ask if I could design a poster for their park. In time, their parks contacted me to ask if they could sell them to the public. Today, the "See the Milky Way" campaign truly is a national poster campaign and my slogan "Half the Park is After Dark" has become the unofficial motto of the NPS night sky program. It fills me with delight that I now walk to a WPA-era post office that contains a WPA-era wall mural, to mail my WPA-inspired posters to national parks all across America.

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse

My newest poster campaign continues this tradition of science education through art by highlighting where Americans can go to see the most spectacular astronomical event anyone can see with their own eyes. Do not miss this rare and beautiful event.