THE COAL CREEK CANYON SKY WATCHERS are an enthusiastic group of mountain dwellers who are dedicated to bringing together people of all ages who are interested in astronomy, space exploration and viewing the wonders of the night sky through telescopes, binoculars and by naked eye.
Our Sky Watchers meetings feature presentations about astronomy and space exploration, followed by telescope viewing, when weather permits. We ask for a donation of about $5 for each adult to cover the expenses of renting the community hall or Camp Wondervu’s lodge and related expense, but if this is a problem – just come! Children of any age are always free. When Star Parties are held at the Coal Creek Canyon K-8 School’s artificial turf soccer field, they are free since we don’t have to rent the field, thanks to our sponsors, the CCC Park & Recreation District Board.
We discovered that we have a number of local well-known planetary scientists, aerospace engineers, amateur astronomers, astronomy education specialists and other experts who are happy to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for celestial objects and the universe with our group. Some of our dedicated members and presenters are also very knowledgeable about telescopes, astro-photography, and current space exploration missions.
A LITTLE HISTORY…
We have three locations where we have met so far. We held our first two meetings in January and February 2014 at Camp Wondervu, an ideal dark-sky location for telescope viewing. Camp Wondervu, also known as AO Camps (Altogether Outdoors Camps), is located at 11902 Camp Eden Road, Golden, CO 80403, on 135 acres with no light pollution from neighbors or the camp. They have a wonderful summer camp for kids as well as renting out their facilities for retreats and conferences. Their website is at – http://campwondervu.org
We had 55 adults and children attend our first meeting, thanks to our local monthly publication, The Mountain Messenger, spreading the word through our Sky Watchers articles. From March through August 2014, about 25 of us met monthly at the Coal Creek Canyon community hall, also known as the CCCIA (CCC Improvement Association) Hall, at 31528 Highway 72 (Coal Creek Canyon Road), Golden, CO 80403.
We are truly gratefully for two members of the Boulder Astronomy & Space Society and the Longmont Astronomical Society, Will Thornburg and Vern Raben, who have come up to our meetings with their powerful telescopes and have shared their knowledge of the night sky with us. Will Thornburg brought his scopes up from Boulder to our first Star Party at the CCC K-8 School’s artificial turf soccer field on July 26, 2014. Although we had totally cloud cover for the first hour, we hung in there and the clouds parted, and the second hour, we got in some great scope viewing!
We plan to have a number of Star Parties during the spring, summer and fall of 2015. They will likely be on a Saturday evening. Because it’s hard to predict clear weather more than a few days before, make sure you’re on our email list, and we’ll email you a few days before when we know it will be clear.
OUR COMMUNITY’S TELESCOPES
We have discovered that many people in our area have telescopes. If you have an easily portable telescope or spotter’s scope of any size or condition, please bring it to our meetings and Star Parties. We have people who can help you adjust, fix and use your scope.
Coal Creek Canyon is located between 8,000 and 9,000 feet in the Colorado Rocky Mountains about an hour west of the Boulder-Denver-Golden area. Although there are many great astronomical societies in the Rocky’s Front Range area, we formed the CCC Sky Watchers because we want to take advantage of our high-altitude location closer to the stars, our dark skies, and meet at locations within our community.
Sky Watchers is sponsored by the Coal Creek Canyon Park and Recreation District Board, whose support we truly appreciate.
If you want to be on our email list for our future meetings and Star Parties and aren’t already on our list, please email BarbaraDavid321@aol.com or call 303-494-7677 and leave a message with your email and/or phone, and we will contact you.
OUR SKY WATCHERS MEETING PLACES
The following are the places we have been meeting, which vary from month-to-month depending on availability. All are in Coal Creek Canyon. We usually meet on Saturdays, but sometimes meet on Sundays or Fridays.
Camp Wondervu (also known as AO Camps)
11902 Camp Eden Road
Golden, CO 80403
Coal Creek Canyon community hall (also known as the CCCIA Hall)
31528 Highway 72 (Coal Creek Canyon Road)
Golden, CO 80403
Coal Creek Canyon K-8 School’s artificial turf soccer field
11719 Ranch Elsie Road
Golden, CO 80403