Oct
6
to Oct 7

Night Sky/Milky Way Photography Workshop

This night sky/Milky Way workshop is presented by Dark Skies member and award-winning photographer Mike Pach. The workshop includes use of a rental home in Westcliffe owned by Dark Skies Vacations. Check-in is as early as 5 pm. The workshops will start near dusk and end just after sunrise (we do not plan to sleep at the rental house, but it will be available if anyone needs to get some rest). Check-out time is 11 am the following day. Pets are not allowed.

The cost of the workshop is $299 and tickets can be purchased here. Please direct all workshop related questions to Mike Pach.

The tentative schedule for each workshop is as follows:

5:00 PM - Check in
6:00 PM - Dinner
7:00 PM - Classroom Instruction
9:00 PM - Photographing the night sky at up to 3 locations through sunrise
7:00 AM - Breakfast at the Silver Cliff Inn

Times are subject to change based on weather, sunset conditions and the times the Galactic Core of the Milky Way is visible.

We'll keep an eye on the weather, but we don't have any control over Mother Nature. If the sky is cloudy, we will spend time photographing the barns at one of our locations and practicing light painting techniques. If the weather is poor, we will spend time discussing post-processing techniques at either rental house.

What you will learn

Workshops will be limited to 10 people and will be lead by Mike Pach with assistance from Don Savage. Keeping groups small will ensure that each participant gets the individual attention they need to learn ...

how to photograph the Milky Way and the stars as points of light.
how to photograph star trails.
light painting techniques (we will supply the lights needed).
how to post-process your images in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Learning materials will be provided to each participant prior to each workshop.

This is a time lapse of the Milky Way during a night sky photography workshop with 3 Peaks Photography in Westcliffe, Colorado. Westcliffe is Colorado's first dark sky community and the world's highest. The photos were taken at two locations on August 12th, 2018. Visit www.3peaksphoto.com for more information about night sky photography workshops.
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SPECIAL EVENT: “Living & Working in Space” Presented by Astronaut Dr. Don Thomas
Oct
11
6:30 PM18:30

SPECIAL EVENT: “Living & Working in Space” Presented by Astronaut Dr. Don Thomas

SPECIAL EVENT: “Living & Working in Space” Presented by Astronaut Dr. Don Thomas

October 11, 6:30 pm to 8 pm, at the Cliff Lanes Community Center in Westcliffe.

Join us for a very special night celebrating astronaut, scientist, and educator Dr. Don Thomas as he gives a presentation on “Living & Working in Space”. He is also a veteran of four space flights on the Space Shuttles Discovery and Columbia.

This FREE event open to the public will be held at the Cliff Lanes Community Center on Thursday, Oct. 11 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Light refreshments will be served.

For more info call Walter: 303 912 9950

This event is sponsored by Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley and The Education Legacy Fund.

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Public Star Party: International Observe the Moon Night
Oct
19
7:30 PM19:30

Public Star Party: International Observe the Moon Night

For this final public star party of the season we will be partnering with the West Custer County Library to celebrate International Observe the Moon Night. There will be a five-day crescent Moon providing outstanding views of the lunar topography. Jupiter has departed for the year and Saturn will be low in the SW sky, but Mars appears as a red jewel in the Milky Way’s diamond bracelet. And beyond our solar system lurk amazing deep-sky objects such as galaxies, nebulas and star clusters that are guaranteed to make you gasp in amazement.

Back-up date is Saturday, October 20.

Any cancellations will be made here on the Event page by 6:00pm the day of the event.

All Star Parties are free and open to the public.

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Sep
17
3:30 PM15:30

MONTHLY DARK SKIES ORGANIZATION MEETING

  • San Isabel Land Protection Trust Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

We would love to have you join us at our next meeting or event. Please let us know you're coming by contacting us at (719) 398-1284 or via info@darkskiescolorado.org

Location: San Isabel Land Protection Trust (located just north of the intersection of Main St. and Third St. on Hwy 69) in the Trust’s conference room. Access is from the lower back of the old Wells Fargo Bank building and enter at the SILPT office (left door facing the back of building).

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Public Star Party: The Milky Way
Sep
14
8:00 PM20:00

Public Star Party: The Milky Way

The Milky Way is nothing to snicker at. Immense clouds of gas and dust that are home to star nurseries are set against a backdrop of billions and billions of stars. Come see a sight that, sadly, is now visible only in places like the Wet Mountain Valley because of light pollution in the more populated areas of the nation. Saturn and Mars are also positioned for maximum viewing. Back-up date is Saturday, September 15.

All Star Parties are free and open to the public.

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Aug
20
3:30 PM15:30

MONTHLY DARK SKIES ORGANIZATION MEETING

  • San Isabel Land Protection Trust Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

We would love to have you join us at our next meeting or event. Let us know you're coming by contacting us at (719) 398-1284 or via info@darkskiescolorado.org

Location: San Isabel Land Protection Trust (located just north of the intersection of Main St. and Third St. on Hwy 69) in the Trust’s conference room. Access is from the lower back of the old Wells Fargo Bank building and enter at the SILPT office (left door facing the back of building).

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Public Star Party: The Perseids Meteor Shower
Aug
13
to Aug 14

Public Star Party: The Perseids Meteor Shower

  • Smokey Jack Observatory (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The Perseids Meteor Shower makes its annual appearance, dazzling viewers with as many as 60 meteors per hour. This will be a particularly good year for watching the celestial fireworks because the Moon will set behind the mountains shortly after sunset, making even the faintest of meteors visible. Telescopes will be available to entertain visitors with spectacular close-ups of planets and various deep-sky objects, but for this event all you really need are your unaided eyes. Dress warmly; it gets very chilly after the sun goes down even in the summer.

All Star Parties are free and open to the public.

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CANCELLED: Rescheduled for July 18 at 9:00pm  -Public Star Party: Mars Makes its Closest Appearance
Jul
18
9:00 PM21:00

CANCELLED: Rescheduled for July 18 at 9:00pm -Public Star Party: Mars Makes its Closest Appearance

As the two giant gas planets, Jupiter and Saturn, continue to move across the night sky, Mars makes an appearance low in the southeast as it reaches its closest point to Earth. The delicate beauty of unimaginably distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters can also be enjoyed. Due to inclement weather on Tuesday, the back-up date is Wednesday, July 18. If the sky is generally cloudy at 7:30 p.m. on the night of the event, then assume that the star party is cancelled or visit any of Facebook Custer County community pages for an announcement.

All Star Parties are free and open to the public.

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Jun
18
3:30 PM15:30

MONTHLY DARK SKIES ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING

  • San Isabel Land Protection Trust Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

We would love to have you join us at our next meeting or event. Let us know you're coming by contacting us at (719) 398-1284 or via info@darkskiescolorado.org

Location: San Isabel Land Protection Trust (located just north of the intersection of Main St. and Third St. on Hwy 69) in the Trust’s conference room. Access is from the lower back of the old Wells Fargo Bank building and enter at the SILPT office (left door facing the back of building).

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CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS: Public Star Party: Saturn's First Appearance
Jun
16
to Jun 17

CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS: Public Star Party: Saturn's First Appearance

  • Smokey Jack Observatory (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Tonight's Star Party has unfortunately been cancelled due to the cloudy weather conditions.

Saturn makes its first appearance of the year low in the SE sky with Jupiter prominent to the south. A three-day waxing crescent Moon gives you the opportunity to see the shadows of the craters and mountain ranges. As dusk gives way to full darkness other fainter objects such as galaxies, nebulas and star clusters will come into view.

All Star Parties are free and open to the public.

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May
18
to May 19

Public Star Party: Jupiter and its Galilean Moons

  • Smokey Jack Observatory (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Jupiter and its Galilean Moons will be visible in the SE sky, and there will be a five-day waxing crescent Moon. As dusk gives way to full darkness other fainter objects such as galaxies, nebulas and star clusters will come into view. Back-up date is Saturday, May 19.

All Star Parties are free and open to the public.

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Apr
20
8:30 PM20:30

Star Party: Celebrate International Dark Sky Week at the Smokey Jack Observatory

Join Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley on Friday April 20th at the Smokey Jack Observatory (SJO) for a special Star Party celebrating International Dark Sky Week. The SJO will be open to view our pristine night skies thru the lens of one of Colorado’s most powerful telescopes.

All Star Parties are free and open to the public.

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Nov
27
4:00 PM16:00

Monthly Dark Skies Organizational Meeting

  • San Isabel Land Protection Trust Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

We would love to have you join us at our next meeting or event. Let us know you're coming by contacting us at (719) 398-1284 or via darkskiescolorado@gmail.com.

Location: San Isabel Land Protection Trust (located just north of the intersection of Main St. and Third St. on Hwy 69) in the Trust’s conference room. Access is from the lower back of the old Wells Fargo Bank building and enter at the SILPT office (left door facing the back of building).

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Nov
27
2:00 PM14:00

Star Party: Saturn Arrives

Saturn makes its first appearance of the year low in the SE sky with Jupiter prominent to the south. A three-day waxing crescent Moon gives you the opportunity to see the shadows of the craters and mountain ranges. As dusk gives way to full darkness other fainter objects such as galaxies, nebulas and star clusters will come into view.

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