York University, Killarney Park collaborate to launch astronomer in residence program

Horsehead Nebula Photo by recent York Science student Richard Bloch

Killarney Provincial Park (KPP) and the Allan I. Carswell Observatory at York University have launched the 2022 Astronomer in Residence (AIR) program, a new astronomy outreach endeavour for those with a passion in astronomy.

This program hosts astronomers in the certified dark sky site of KPP in Ontario to lead in-person and remote astronomy presentations and shows using Killarney’s park observatory. Both amateur and professional astronomers are encouraged to apply for this opportunity.

Successful candidates will collaborate with the Allan I. Carswell Observatory on outreach and livestream broadcasts.

This opportunity comes with free parking, lodging and a stipend of $400 CAD/week, but astronomers are required to provide their own transportation. The program runs May 1 to Oct. 15 and candidates can apply for a one- to three-week term, with the first term running May 1 to 7 and the final term running Oct. 9 to 15.

Candidates are expected to be reasonably fluent in general astronomy knowledge, stargazing and telescope operations. Candidates should have experience in astronomy outreach. The AIR program is a public (mixed) audience communication venue and may require candidates to improvise and provide original content (star tours, slides, what’s up tonight, etc.). Due to the public component of this program, candidates must be comfortable speaking publicly.

Candidates will also be assisting with existing tours and helping park staff with astronomy-related content and organization.

Note, due to the facilities being remote, appropriate telescope training is also provided at York University upon demand. Candidates who have demonstrated ability with similar telescopes will likewise be considered certified in astronomical skill for Killarney Provincial Parks equipment. Candidates will, in return, also provide training to Ontario Parks staff for astronomy, observatory operations, tour materials, etc. This will be included in the candidate’s on-site time, and not be expected to be prepared in advance.

Visit the AIR website for more details on this opportunity.