We encourage residents and visitors to tap into their 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.

Dark Skies Packages and News

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.

  • 2 night minimum
  • Picnic dinner for two from Basic Necessities (blanket provided)
  • Cookies from Fox Hollow Baking
  • Late check-out (instead of 11 am, 1pm- in case of super late star gazing super late)
  • Coffee Room Service one morning

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.

Must-See Celestial Events 2023: Astronomy Calendar
In 2023, we’ll see a bright comet, a rare hybrid solar eclipse, and other unique astronomical events. Check the link and plan for the best nights for stargazing in your calendar!


Dark Skies Brews and Views

Wood Ridge Farm Brewery in Lovingston and WildManDan Brewery in Afton

165 Old Ridge Road, Lovingston and 279 Avon Road, Afton

Dark Skies Lager at Wood Ridge Farm Brewery – Well balanced Helles lager with notes of coffee.

Come out the 3rd Wednesday of the month for Dark Skies viewing. **WEATHER PERMITTING**

There will be a special viewing session on August 18th. Bryan Knowles plays from 7-10pm followed by the Perseid Meteor Party. Local area astronomers will gather at Wood Ridge Farm Brewery in conjunction with the Nelson County Dark Skies campaign to observe and enjoy the nights sky as well as a meteor shower. We will have 2 Dobsonian telescopes as well as an EV scope providing a very special opportunity to view the sky with high powered equipment. Be mindful of the night time weather and dress accordingly, bring a blanket and snacks as the brewery will be closed during prime viewing hours.

Dark Matter Black IPA at Wild Man Dans Brewery- ABV 6.0%  IBU 75 – A light chocolate, coffee and caramel sweetness with a citrusy, tropical, resinous and melon character.

November 3

Daytime Star Gazing with The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen. 1PM to 3PM. Come join staff and the Charlottesville Astronomical Society for this fantastic celestial event as we view our star, the sun! We will see sunspots and solar flares using safe solar telescopes with Steve Layman, Coordinator of Future Astronomers Charlottesville Astronomical Society. This event will be held at Tuckahoe Clubhouse, 37 Stone Orchard Drive. Payment is due at time of registration. 434-325-8169.

November 18th

Hazy Mountain Vineyard and Brewery

Afton, Virginia

On November 18th from 7-9pm, Hazy Mountain Vineyards and Brewery, in association with local area amateur astronomers, will be presenting its patrons an opportunity to enjoy telescopic views of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. Children are welcome!  This is a fair weather event, updates to the weather will be added here leading into the event.

November 10 & 11

Gladstone, Virginia

This is a unique, two-night opportunity that only comes once a year and will be the largest gathering of astronomers at the park. Our astronomy clubs will have telescopes available for an up-close view of planets and galaxies, but you may also bring your own telescope to explore these amazing wonders of the night sky with our knowledgeable staff as your guide. We will also have programs and presentations to help you find your way through the galaxy. We promise you a stellar experience at James River State Park!


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.


Jan. 10 – January 25
Feb. 9 – Feb. 23
March 10 – March 25
April 10 – April 24
May 9 – May 24
June 8 – June 22
July 9 – July 22
Aug. 8 – Aug. 21
Sept. 7 – Sept. 19
Oct. 5 – Oct. 18
Nov. 5 – Nov. 17
Dec. 1 – Dec. 16

educational space videos