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

April Night Sky Guide

Plan your night sky adventures each month with the Farmers’ Almanac Night Sky Guide

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.

Stargazing Calendar 2024

 Our guide to the latest astronomy events of 2024

April 8 – Total Solar Eclipse

April 16-25 – Lyrids Meteor Shower

April 23 – Pink Moon

May 5-6 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

May 9 – Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation

May 23 – Flower Moon


Dark Skies Brews and Views

Wintergreen Resort Solar Eclipse Watch Party

Unforgettable celestial experience at Wintergreen Resort on the Blue Ridge Terrace! Witness the awe-inspiring beauty of a solar eclipse while indulging in delicious treats and refreshing beverages. From 2 PM to 4 PM on Monday, April 8th, immerse yourself in the magic of the cosmos with Sunny D, Moon Pies, and savory Chicken Salad sandwiches. Don’t miss this chance to gather with friends and family for a celestial spectacle against the stunning backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We are expecting an 88% eclipse that will peak around 3:15pm.

Wood Ridge Farm Brewery in Lovingston

165 Old Ridge Road, Lovingston

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**

April 17 8:45PM to 10PM

May 15  9:15PM to 11PM.

June 19 9:30PM to 11PM

July 17  9:30PM to 11PM

August 21 Star Party at Wood Ridge Farm Brewery. 7PM to 10PM. Special guests include two members of the Rappahannock Club with large and specialized telescopes.

September 18. 8:45PM to 11PM

October 16 7:30PM to 10PM

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




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