This year will be the 17th edition of the global celebration of the night sky. Created by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, the week is not only a popular event in its own right, but an important part of Global Astronomy Month. This year, it will take place from Sunday, March 31, through Sunday, April 7
Offering all kinds of opportunities to learn, celebrate and take action when it comes to light pollution, Colorado is a particularly good place to enjoy Dark Sky Week. Here are a few events happening throughout the week in the Centennial State.
Screening of “Saving the Dark” | Ridgway
April 6, 2019, 7 pm
This documentary about saving our night skies will be screened at the Sherbino Theater in downtown Ridgway. The documentary will be preceded by a selection of astrophotographs and nightscapes taken by the Black Canyon Astronomical Society (BCAS) across western Colorado. Entry is free for Ridgway Ouray Community Council (ROCC) and BCAS members. A donation is requested for the general public. Doors open at 6 pm show starts at 7 pm.
Star Party with Western Colorado Astronomy Club | Colorado National Monument
April 5, 2019, 8 pm
The Western Colorado Astronomy Club will have telescopes on hand for star viewing at the Saddlehorn Picnic Area parking lot of Colorado National Monument, one of the state’s most spectacular natural landmarks.
Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley Star Party | Westcliffe
April 5, 2019, 8:15 pm
Celebrate dark sky week at Smokey Jack Observatory by viewing the spring constellations as they come into view. This free event is open to the public; in case of bad weather the event will be moved to Saturday, April 6 at 8:15 pm.
Can’t make it to an event? The International Dark Sky Association offers a few tips on how you can still get involved:
1. During International Dark Sky Week, get together with friends and family and go outside at night. A lot of us don’t take the opportunity to experience the nighttime environment. Go outside, look up and look around. Lots of interesting stuff is happening during the night hours. Go explore! Better yet, visit one of our International Dark Sky Places! There are several spots in Colorado with designations include Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Hovenweep National Monument (pictured above), Norwood and the communities of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff.
2. Help spread the word about light pollution and the importance of dark skies. This week is a great excuse to talk with friends, family, neighbors, your homeowner’s association or government representatives about why protecting our night environment is so crucial. We have Dark Sky Week resources to help start the conversation.
3. Become a citizen scientist and collect data about the night sky in your neighborhood for Globe at Night. It’s fun, easy and you’ll be helping scientists across the globe better understand the threat of light pollution to our planet.
4. Stopping light pollution isn’t just about seeing the stars. There are other important things at stake, too. Use this week to take the time to learn more about the effect of artificial light at night on human health, the environment, energy waste, crime and safety and our heritage of night skies.
5. Join the conversation! Use the hashtag #IDSW2019 on social media to share how you’re celebrating International Dark Sky Week and connect with other people passionate about dark skies. Find IDA on Facebook and Twitter.
While there are countless locations to admire the night sky here in Colorado, we round up three of our favorites here.