Published: Oct. 9, 2016 By

‘Way back in 1995 when we first began looking for a place to retire we found Wright’s Mesa. This is the place! I was particularly impressed with the incredible night sky and looked forward to having an observatory here so I could set up my telescope and be able to leave it, ready to use anytime.

I taught others about astronomy and gave show-and-tells about my telescopes - how they work, what the different types are. I have set them up and shown others some of the easier wonders of the sky to see with their own eyes.

Soon after we retired and moved to Norwood a rare astronomical event was about to happen. I asked Norwood Science teacher, Nancy Wells, if I could bring my ‘scopes to the school so the students could see the Transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun. That was a very special day seeing so many students witness this event. Eight years later I was especially pleased to be able to work with Pinhead Institute and enable about 300 people to see the same event on Telluride’s Gondola Plaza. The next transit of Venus will be December 10th, 2117 - mark it on your calendars.

This year I heard that Bob Grossman and Gretchen Wells were championing an effort to get the Norwood area certified as an “International Dark Sky Community”. I knew Norwood area nights were spectacular, but getting international recognition of that fact would be amazing. I volunteered to help.

In the meantime, Bob talked to members of the Longmont Astronomical Society (LAS) about our beautiful resource. Dave Elmore (LAS) said that he’d like to come down and do some Astrophotography. Bob and I went to a Black Canyon Astronomical Society (BCAS) meeting in Montrose; they too wanted to see our dark sky.

The dates were set. Dave was coming from Longmont, and Val Szwarc (BCAS) would come from Ridgway bringing their scopes and Sky-Quality-Meters that would give an unbiased instrument reading of just how dark our sky is.

This was an opportunity I had been waiting for. I set about getting vehicle access to the location on our property that would give the best view of the sky while the surrounding trees would shield us from Norwood town lights, and from my own house. It was worth the work! Not only did the experienced astronomers express their amazement at our beautiful sky, but the Sky-Quality-Meters measured our “darkness” as matching some of the darkest places on planet earth! We are all incredibly lucky to live in such as place as this!

So, not only did the opportunity of having experienced astronomers get me going on clearing a place to view the stars but at the BCAS meeting, I met someone that’s selling a used Observatory Dome. All these recent events are telling me that it’s time to install my long-wished-for observatory.

My dream is becoming my reality!