dark skies

Western Slope Skies - Seven Stargazing Tips

Oct 1, 2021
Joyce Tanihara - Black Canyon Astronomical Society

Crisp, clear Autumn nights are some of the best nights for stargazing here in western Colorado. As you head out to enjoy the view, remember these seven tips to help you make the most of your stargazing experience.

Joyce Tanihara

Have you ever had the chance to gaze upon the Milky Way? Our ancestors could easily see the Milky Way and thousands of stars in the night sky from their homes. In the present day, if you get a chance to enjoy a truly dark sky, then you’re one of the lucky ones! According to the 2016 World Atlas of Artificial Brightness, the Milky Way is not visible to about two-thirds of the world’s population, including about 80% of North Americans.

Kate Redmond

  • COVID transmission in Delta County now 'substantial'
  • Delta County Schools returning in-person with no mask mandate, despite CDC recommendations
  • Cedaredge trustees select retail marijuana vendors
  • USDA endorses Colorado proposal to grow hemp industry
  • State investigation of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters could lead to criminal charges
  • Curecanti Rec Area designated dark sky park
  • Kate Redmond catches up with Julia Kumari Drapkin who launched I See Change at KVNF

  

Hubble Telescope

  • Hotchkiss mayor Larry Wilkening announces retirement of Marshal Dan Miller, arrest of Deputy Marshal Kelsey Shumway, termination of Deputy Marshal Chad Lloyd
  • Governor Polis announced first winner of Colorado Comeback Cash on Friday, but the Denver Post reports the program has not sparked a surge in new COVID vaccinations
  • Eric Galatas reports Colorado health agencies are bringing COVID vaccines to disabled people who are unable to travel to vaccination sites
  • Kate Redmond reports Nucla and Naturita have been designated as international Dark Sky communities

Daniel Rayzel / KSJD

  • BLM approved 226 gas wells to be drilled 15 miles NE of Paonia, so SG Interests & Gunnison Energy will proceed with their Bull Mountain Master Energy Plan
  • Delta County Commissioners approved a new Land Use code on Tuesday, but citizen journalist JoAnn Kalenek says the maps were never completely and accurately published for review
  • KSJD's Daniel Rayzel reports dark skies advocates say mitigation for light pollution is too often ignored in SE Utah 

  

Rain & Shine: The Beaver Moon

Dec 3, 2020
Aaron Watson - Dark Skies Paonia

The Beaver, or Full Frost Moon is the name of this season’s luna llena. With the moonlight sparkling on a heavy frost and a beaver moving into a new bend of one of the ditches that runs by my house, I think it is well named. Our question this week was, why is the Moon bigger when it rises?

Western Slope Skies - Dark Skies

Aug 21, 2020
Joyce Tanihara

The best time to see the Milky Way is NOW! Did you know that dung beetles use the Milky Way to navigate?  Yeah - but I'm not a dung beetle you may say. Ok, did you know that humans use the stars for navigating as well?

Local Motion: Dark Skies

Dec 31, 2019
www.lightpollutionmap.info

The International Dark Sky Association was founded in 1988 with the intention to protect the night skies for present and future generations.

Joyce Tanihara

The North Fork Valley of the Gunnison River has built its reputation on riches from the Earth, whether coal deposits to fuel the mining economy, or fertile irrigated land for the valley's productive agriculture. But what might surprise you is the amazing resource found when we raise our awareness up above towards the night sky.

Scorpius over Norwood, CO and Lone Cone Mountain
Braden Barkemeyer

Just over a century ago there were no electric lights and no light-pollution. For millennia, anyone looking into a nighttime sky would see the Moon, 5 planets, and stars – lots and lots of stars.

National Park Service

Over my ranger career, I’ve been posted at some of the most spectacular locations on the planet. Grand Teton, Zion, Everglades, Wind Cave, and the Black Canyon, conjure up images of grand landscapes, wildlife, and history. At each park, I’ve talked to visitors from Topeka, to Tacoma, to Tampa. As you might expect, they come with questions - "How deep is the canyon?" "What animals might I see?" and, of course, the ever urgent "WHERE IS THE RESTROOM?!"

NASA Earth Observatory

All over the world, people are losing night. In fact, 80% of the global population cannot see the Milky Way from where they live. How can this be?

Joyce Tanihara

It’s a dark area broken by the faint glow of red lights, and your eyes are just adjusting to make out a figure, hunched over what vaguely looks to be a telescope.

“Hey, I’ve got Saturn!” exclaims the figure. “I’ve got a double star,” shouts another voice. “I’ve got the Andromeda galaxy. Come take a look!” says someone toward the back.

R. Hazzard

  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “festival” as “a special time or event when people gather to celebrate something.” In Colorado we love our festivals. Here, you can celebrate wildflowers, hot air balloons, rodeos, sweet corn, your favorite beverage, and bluegrass. On the Western Slope, there is another type of festival, and it’s coming up very soon. The 7th Annual Astronomy Festival will be held at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park from June 1st through the 4th. 

The New Year is well upon us. This is always a good time to reflect on the year gone by and look to the new adventure that is about to begin. By now you’ve probably set your resolutions for 2016. The national parks are no different. 2015 was a banner year for dark skies throughout the Colorado Plateau, but we still have much work to do in 2016.

"Astronomy Amateur 3 V2" by Halfblue at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Astronomy_Amateur_3_V2.jpg#/media/File:Astronomy_Amateur_3_V2.jpg

By definition, Astronomy is a natural science which is the study of celestial objects.

It all started with humans looking at the night sky with just their eyes, and contemplating all those gleaming lights above them.

Today there is the Hubble Space Telescope which brings us brilliant photos of far off galaxies, space probes reaching out and sending back images of planets, asteroids and comets, and huge land based telescopes, that since Galileo’s time have grown from 1.5 centimeters, to 1 meter, to 10 meters in diameter.

Spring is quickly shifting into summer. For us at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, this means that the busiest visitation days of the year are just around the corner. Folks from all over the world will soon fill the visitor center, planning adventures into the canyon and asking about park wildlife. Rangers will begin presenting geology walks along the rim and talks out at Chasm View. It’s an exciting time of year in the park.

Light Pollution

Those of us that live on the Western Slope are no stranger to spectacular scenery. The jagged peaks, chiseled canyons, and expansive plateaus of western Colorado are treasures that we all cherish. But one of our most spectacular natural wonders may also be one of our least appreciated: our incredibly dark and pristine night skies.