Celestron partners with national parks to get people outside, enjoying the night sky

By Amanda Keith posted 06-16-2016 09:28 AM


 “Lake McDonald Dock and Aurora" at Glacier National Park” Photo Credit: NPS / Jacob W. Frank

For decades, Celestron has built telescopes and other outdoor electronics that have been used by stargazers around the world. Now, this leading telescope maker is partnering with national parks to increase the sense of wonder and awe for visitors to our nation’s public lands.

Since 2014, Celestron has partnered with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, and has carried an official line of licensed telescopes, sports optics and outdoor electronics that support national parks. In addition, the company has been a lead sponsor of the foundation's “Share the Experience” Photo Contest, which encourages the public to submit photos from any of our federal lands and enter to win Celestron products, such as high-end binoculars, a long-distance spotting scope or a table-top telescope.

“We’re grateful to have terrific partners like Celestron who share our commitment to protecting America’s treasured places and connecting more communities across the country to them,” said David French, senior vice president of marketing, communications, and corporate partnerships at the National Park Foundation.

In addition to Celestron's partnership with the foundation, French explains that Celestron supports park stargazing programs and is "helping us protect the unique resource night skies bring to our national parks by educating and inspiring thousands."

With light pollution becoming an increasing problem in America’s urban and suburban areas, the ability to see the beauty of the cosmos is increasingly threatened. Celestron says that in order for their products to be effective, they need to advocate for the protection of dark skies and foster curiosity in new generations of scientists, engineers and outdoor enthusiasts. “It’s not just about selling products,” Michelle Meskill, Marketing Manager for Celestron, explained. “Without the preservation of dark skies, what’s the point?"

That's why for several years, Celestron has supported dark sky festivals at parks throughout the country and has participated in encouraging the public to view the stars and attend presentations about the preservation of dark skies.

At Joshua Tree National Park, Celestron helped launch its first annual Night Sky Festival last October and will continue to sponsor it this year. “We really appreciate them being available to participate in our events and always look forward to working with them,” said Pam Tritt, Lead Ranger at the park.

Celestron Staff at Joshua Tree National Park's first annual Night Sky Festival in southern California.

Alf Anderson, representative of the Acadia Night Sky Festival Steering Committee explained, “In the six years that Celestron has supported our mission of celebrating the starlit skies of Downeast Maine, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds both in terms of attendance as well as in the level of events being offered to guests.”

Not only does Celestron donate high-end computerized telescopes to the parks but their staff perform maintenance on the equipment for free, train park staff how to use the equipment and attend the events to educate visitors and provide support as on-site telescope experts.

“People love having our experts there,” said Meskill. Visitors ask questions, interact with the equipment and learn about planets and constellations with the help of Celestron staff. “We share the sky with them,” she added and she explained how Celestron has strived to improve the stargazing experience for visitors so that they have a “bigger sense of connection to the land.”

Aaron Kaye, Supervisory Park Ranger at Badlands National Park also had kind words to say about Celestron’s engagement at their dark sky festival: “In interpretive programs, we talk about the ‘oh wow’ factor,” he explained. “People look through these [telescopes] and say ‘oh wow’.”

Whether it’s giving someone their first view of the Moon’s deep craters or Saturn’s luminous rings, watching the night sky through this technology provides visitors with a unique experience.

Dark Sky Festival at Badlands National Park in southwestern South Dakota


Corporate Stewardship Award

This year, the Public Lands Alliance awarded Celestron the Corporate Stewardship Award at the Partners for Public Lands Convention and Trade Show in Spokane, WA. The Corporate Stewardship Award recognizes a company that has demonstrated exceptional achievement to enhance the quality of the visitor experience in America’s public lands. Because of Celestron’s commitment to public lands and to philanthropic partnerships, the Alliance deemed them highly worthy of this award. For more information on the Partnership Awards Program, visit