Every so often, on cloudless nights that follow slow traffic days, smog makes a deal with the atmosphere and agrees to cut out early so Denverites can see those white, twinkling things Midwesterners and mountain purists call "stars." Skepticism is understandable, of course, considering that the closest thing to a constellation visible on most nights in Denver is an orange-and-gray fog that eerily resembles the outline of Uzbekistan. But apparently billions of these star things are floating around up there every night, in patterns that form tangible-looking objects -- or so idealists claim. Glenn Kubiak, a volunteer with the Lookout Mountain Nature Center, is eager to convert the masses.
"Everyone can find the Big Dipper," Kubiak says. "I show people how they can navigate from there to all kinds of other constellations."
Using an old-school device called a Fecker telescope ("You can imagine the jokes I might make about that," Kubiak says) and a splash of humor, Kubiak will lead a guided tour through the sky at tonight's November Night Skies event at Pine Valley Ranch Park.
"I got my degree in physics, but that doesn't mean I know everything," he says. "If I don't know something, I'll make it up and leave it to the audience to tell the difference."
"I'm kidding, of course," he counters. "I really just try to give everyone a feel for what they can do with basic astronomy. And I crack a lot of jokes."
The free galactic adventure starts at 5:30 p.m. and is open to amateur astronomers ten and older. Advance registration is required; call 303-526-0594 to sign up, or go to http://openspace.jeffco.us for more information. Pine Valley Ranch Park is located six miles south of Pine Junction in Jefferson County. -- Drew Bixby
The Colorado SnowSports Expo rides on.
Imagine a place where The Man Showmeets extreme sporting, Sniagrab is amplified by 100 percent, and Cirque du Soleil-worthy skiers and snowboarders entertain on an indoor rail slide. Heaven? No. It's the Colorado SnowSports Expo at the Colorado Convention Center.
The goal is "non-stop action," says expo spokeswoman Janie McCullough. When past and future Olympians aren't wowing expo attendees with their trampoline gymnastics, there's a Spud-Sack duel with prizes and scavenger hunts to keep them entertained. All that supplements more than 100 informational booths set up street-fair style. The expo will also be the last chance to purchase specially discounted season ski passes, including the Colorado Pass, and to receive expo-only reductions on lift tickets.
Exhibits are open today from noon to 10 p.m., tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the convention center, 700 14th Street. Admission is $10 for adults, free for children twelve and under. For information, go to http://dyn.onthesnow.com/bewi/ denver/denver.shtml. -- Sara Behuner