Starstruck On The Mesa

If you live in the Grand Valley, you’ve probably visited the Grand Mesa, and many of you have probably gone camping too. The Grand Mesa, known for its beautiful views, is about to get a new view of the stars.

According to Grand Mesa Observatory’s official site, “By the end of summer 2018 we will also have two domes for private clients, with one being operated by the United States Air Force and the other by a consortium of universities both locally and nationally.”

Terry Hancock, Director of Grand Mesa Observatory and Astrophotographer, the Grand Mesa Observatory is an official 501 c(3) nonprofit organization who will soon be open to the public.

According to Grand Mesa Observatory’s official site, by the end of this summer, Grand Mesa Observatory plans on completing two domes, each can be rented and used by citizens interested in astrophotography. At the moment, one dome has been completed, a 32-by-16 foot “long roll-off roof” that houses six piers that can be rented by the public. Another pier, half the size at 16-by-16 foot, is in the process of being built to accommodate an additional 4 piers.

To rent a facility, you must pay ahead $700.00 per month, with a minimum stay of a year and an additional $500 for setup fees. Other equipment, such as a pier, a mini-computer, and also insurance is not included in those costs and must be either brought by you, or rented from Grand Mesa Observatory.

Though expensive, this allows access to their high speed broadband internet, onsite maintenance at 5 free hours per month, 12 volts of power to each pier, and access to weather and cloud station, sky quality meter and an all sky camera according to their official website at

Hancock’s mission statement was to make the Grand Mesa Observatory an educational organization who  will provide hands on experiences and educational opportunities to foster a passion for astronomy and science in Western Colorado, according to their official site.

Jared Workman, an Associate Professor of Physics in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at Colorado Mesa University told the Daily Sentinel, “I see this as a method to attract people to science. It’s interesting but not so complicated that it feels insurmountable for someone who doesn’t have a background in mathematics. We can engage students who would otherwise be lost to moving into science.”