Carpe Noctem – Seize the Night

Gunnison Valley Observatory is open for public viewing every Friday and Saturday evening from the second weekend in June through the second weekend in September.  The facility gates open at sunset.  Evenings consist of a brief astronomy-related program and multiple telescope viewing opportunities.  Admission is by donation and reservations are not required.  The Observatory is also available for a fee by reservation for private viewing parties.  The Observatory is located south of Gunnison at 2804 County Rd 38 across from the Hartman Rocks Recreation Area.  From Gunnison, travel west on Highway 50, turn left before crossing the Gunnison River onto County Road 38, continue around the airport runway then head south about a mile.  The Observatory will be on your left inside the dirt berm.  For more information on programs and visiting the Observatory go to or call (970) 642-1111.

The Gunnison Valley Observatory is open for the season


Friday, September 7, 2018: Observing and Preserving the Milky Way
The Milky Way has disappeared from night skies across the country.  Bad light fixtures that cause glare and create too much light are to blame.  Park rangers have come to the rescue!  It’s their duty to protect the nighttime scenery and save the Milky Way.  Join Ranger Kara on an epic hero’s quest to keep the Milky Way from disappearing forever.

Saturday, September 8, 2018: Inspired By a Six-Tailed Comet
In 1744 a spectacular comet appeared in the sky with six tails.  Known as the Great Comet of 1744, this comet became as bright as Venus and set a young Charles Messier on a lifelong quest to discover a comet of his own.  Today many of the galaxies, nebulas and star clusters we observe through the telescope bear Messier’s name.  Join local amateur astronomer Mike Brooks to learn about this comet and the man it inspired.

Telescope 101

The Observatory is a publically-owned community facility, operated by all volunteer staff and board of directors. Gunnison Valley Observatory offers access to professional quality star gazing and knowledge of astronomy.  Our 30-inch reflector telescope maximizes our thin and unpolluted Rocky Mountain atmosphere to bring distant astronomical vistas to the eyes of residents and visitors of the Gunnison Valley.

The Observatory is located on the east or left side at 2804 County Road 38 across from Hartman Rocks Recreation Area.  The Observatory itself is tucked in behind a light darkening earthen berm and can’t be readily seen from the County Road.  There is a sign and dirt parking lot on the left at the entrance.  The facility opens at sunset, approximately 8:00 PM in June and July and 7:30 PM in August and September.  A brief educational astronomy program is followed by viewing of the amazing night sky through a variety of large and small telescopes.  Admission is by donation and reservations aren’t required.

Gunnison Valley Observatory offers many exciting ways to support its mission and goals.  You can attend the summer Friday and Saturday public program series and telescope viewings, volunteer, book a private showing or become a financial sponsor.  For more information about the observatory, please browse through the website.  Carpe Noctem – Seize the Night.

Gunnison Valley Observatory By-Laws

Follow us on Facebook for the latest information on GVO events, comets, weather, meteor showers and all things astronomical. The Gunnison Valley Observatory is most effective when community members are inquisitive and interactive. You can support the observatory through volunteerism.

Observatory Building