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Tap into your inner astronomer and admire the breathtaking views of the Dark Skies of Nelson County.

Leave your flashlights behind and look for constellations, wish on a shooting star, and dream of the mysteries that lie beyond the Milky Way. Local hospitality businesses are creating and promoting places and events that preserve and protect our Dark Skies, such as specials, packages and events for viewing astronomical wonders.

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Events & Locations for Astronomical Wonders

Dark Skies Brews and Views

Wood Ridge Farm Brewery
165 Old Ridge Road
Lovingston, VA
434-422-6225

Upcoming Dates (Weather Permitting)

  • Friday, August 2nd or Saturday, August 3rd (best for weather) – 9:00 P.M. – until?
  • Rain date: Friday, September 6th or Saturday, September 7 – 8:00 P.M. – until?
  •  August 14th           8:45 P.M. – 11:00 P.M. (monthly observing program)
  • September 11th     8:00 P.M. – 10:30 P.M. (monthly observing program)
  • October 9th            7:15 P.M. – 10:00 P.M. (monthly observing program)

Note: A bright comet may be visible at this time, and there may be a special event, with guests encouraged to arrive no later than half an hour after the sun sets

  • Wednesday, November 13th – 5:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
  • Wednesday, December 11th – 5:30 P.M. –  8:00 P.M.

*Check in advance for event date changes due to viewing conditions based on weather.

Dark Skies Packages

Indigo House: Dark Skies Package
Leave your flashlights behind and look for constellations, wish on a shooting star, and dream of the mysteries that lie beyond the Milky Way.

Just 10 minutes from Wood Ridge Farm Brewery, relax and recharge at the Indigo House, a modern bed & breakfast for outdoorsy humans and kind dogs. Add the Dark Skies Package to your stay and receive:

  • A Mediterranean picnic and dessert for two from Basic Necessities
  • Late check-out at 1 pm
  • Locally roasted coffee delivered to your room

Love Ridge: Stargazing Experience
Stay at Love Ridge and enjoy the delights of viewing the night sky with little ambient light. This Package is perfect to take in the night skies for an evening of family fun.

Observing Windows

An observing window is defined as a period of time (allowing for observing conditions) that provides at least 1 and 1/2 hours of observing after astronomical twilight, which occurs one and one half hours after sunset, and which takes place when the Moon provides less than 25% illumination.

Observing sessions or activities should take place only when clear, mostly clear or a few clouds from time to time are forecast, based on both the National Weather Service and the Clear Sky Clock. Because of these variables, scheduled observing sessions or activities should be planned with a rain date in mind, which should be announced no later than 6:00 pm on the day prior to an event.

  1. Visit the Charlottesville Astronomical Society Website
  2. Go to the Sky Conditions drop-down menu and choose the Clear Sky Clock for the Observatory on Fan Mountain – a tool used by amateur astronomers for a two-day look-ahead at upcoming observing conditions. It can be a bit on the conservative side but can be useful for re-scheduling an event or activity, if necessary. Then use the Weather Forecast tool in conjunction with the Clear Sky Clock.

Nautical Twilight (an hour after sunset): Observing the planets and brighter objects, plus satellites

Astronomical Twilight (an hour and a half after sunset): Nelson’s dark skies make their appearance, with the caveats mentioned above.

Dates

July 25th – August 9

August 25th – September 7th

September 23rd – October 7th

October 23rd – November 6th

November 18th – December 5

December 18th – January 3rd, 2025

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