Star Power

Turn out the light in your back yard, and you may be able to see the Big Dipper and a few other constellations. Head to the foothills and another layer of stars appear, the ones that were hidden by city lights. But drive all the way to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and you’ll discover a universe of twinkling lights that will take your breath away.

“Places where you can really see the night sky are fading,” says Black Canyon interpretive ranger Randy Dunning, who is originally from Las Vegas, one of the most light-polluted cities in the country. “The sky is rather boring there, but that is how people there will know the skies. I think that is sad.”

Black Canyon, on the other hand, is one of the darkest national parks in the nation, Dunning says. To help people see the light, the park is hosting a series of Dark Sky programs on most Wednesday and Friday nights through the summer. The programs take place at the park’s South Rim Campground Amphitheatre; they start at 9 p.m. with a slide show and include constellation tours and telescopic viewing of stars and galaxies.

For more information, call the park at 1-970-249-1914 or log on to
Wed., June 9, 9 p.m.; Wed., June 16, 9 p.m.; Wed., June 30, 9 p.m.; Wed., July 7, 9 p.m.; Wed., July 14, 9 p.m.; Wed., July 28, 9 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 4, 9 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 11, 9 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 18, 9 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 25, 9 p.m., 2010

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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