New Mexico’s window to the stars
Pictured is the sky above the town of Rodeo. The Bootheel region is a haven for astronomers looking to photograph the night sky with high-end telescopes. On clear nights, astrophotographers from around the world remotely operate their telescopes at a nearby astronomy ranch to capture images from space. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)
Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal
ANIMAS – The moon sets behind the Chiricahua Mountains, blackening the desert night.
With the roof of his Animas observatory rolled off, Stanley Watson can remotely control his telescope from his home in Michigan. Seen in the doorway is Michael Hensley, a co-owner of Dark Sky New Mexico, where Watson and a dozen other astrophotographers keep their remote observatories.
It’s the kind of dark sky that is precious hard to find in the modern world, where city lights illuminate far beyond their urban limits and make it hard to see the stars. It’s a darkness that lures astrophotographers.
There is a collection of about 20 sheds just off Highway 9 in the Bootheel, among the cattle ranches and rocky mountain ranges. They don’t look like much.