Smokey Jack Observatory (SJO) in Colorado is located 47 miles (75 km) west of Pueblo, a couple of hours drive south of the Denver airport. The observatory lies in Westcliffe, a very friendly International Dark Skies Community (https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/communities/thecliffs/) Situated between the parallel Wet Mountain and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, the area is well-shielded from the most significant source of skyglow in the region, coming from cities along and near the Interstate 25 corridor. Generally, the best (and warmest) months are May through September since the SJO is open to the environment to allow the telescope to be at a stable temperature with the outside air. The observatory is available for free, private viewing sessions by making reservations directly with the master guide, Mr. Clint Smith (clintsmith5555 at live.com).
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.