I didn't know where else to post this. But, the beauty of star gazing is one of my most pleasant "hobbies." Hiking Apacheria is another. I don't have many photos to show stars ... I don't know how to do that. I've seen the stars in South Korea, South Vietnam, Japan, Eastern Oregon, Montana, and my home state of Indiana and Ohio, where I worked for 24 years. But I live here. And I've tried to look at the stars every chance I get.
I write this in response to a friend who may rightly be frustrated that Silver City and Grant County haven't moved far enough along to make our skies "darker" in an area where we already are blessed with some pretty dark skies. Up in my neighborhood, I can step out into the street and look, with the naked eye, at some pretty bodacious stars when the moon is new, and we have some of our wonderfully clear nights.
When we have a new moon, if I wake up as I do, during the night, and it's not freezing or raining, I can go out into same street and look at an incredible Milky Way and thank God I live here.
The site in Alma, linked below, I haven't been to. I'd have to organize myself for a trip there ... but I do know sites that are no more than 25 minutes away where I can drive off the highway, park, pull out some lawn chairs, binoculars, something to eat and drink, and maybe time a late afternoon hike to help my eyes get adjusted to the growing dark. In the Army, in S. Korea and S. Vietnam, we "ran night patrols" where we accustomed our eyes to work on "night vision." Before night vision goggles. So I know that in many places, adjusting my eyes to the dark and not turning on any lights will set the proper frame of mind for such an event.
I recently took a visitor from ABQ out ... and the moon was three quarters. They just kept saying:"It's so beautiful. We can't see any stars where I live."
So, I was glad to be of service.https://sites.google.com/
Several people seem to have their sights set on blasting Silver City for not achieving it's goal of optimum night sky goals. I can get that. There are folks I've talked with who say that Silver City council members haven't followed through with whatever plans they had to advance this goal incrementally.
I'm not an expert on what the costs would be for Silver City acquiring full shielded night lights for the city. I've been told there are people advocating for this and are frustrated. I can get that, too. According to a star viewing map provided at this website, Silver City is right on the edge now of some of the best star viewing in the Southwest. I know that the Leonid meteor shower is coming up 17-18 November.
Again, not an expert. [but ]I was told by John Crow, who runs the Gila Regional Community News, that the council men and women read his daily blog.[In that regard, I'd like to ask them to ask people in the city and county to turn off extraneous outside lights, and pull the curtains on their houses on these nights. It's a small step towards bettering chances for those folks who want to see more of the Leonid showers (if weather cooperates), who can't or won't drive out of town for a night of stellar pleasure. I would also like to ask the Town Council, and perhaps the county commissioners, to urge home owners to put up with the city turning off street lights, say, up until midnight or one a.m., so that the people here in Silver City can join with other communities on the Planet who might do this so that we modern homo sapiens can grasp what a truly dark sky looks like once, before we die. For me, viewing the stars has been a pleasure I've held for many of my years.
Certainly, growing up in small town Indiana, where NO farm lights were used. and the city was surrounded by farm land in the 50s, even into the 60s, I was grateful to have good "star shows" where I lived. HERE, I get in my car with a friend or two, and we go out to several places where I know, from hiking, and experimenting, that there will be quite a nice (not perfect) view of the meteor shows available. I DO hope that the City Council members, and county commissioners, continue to purchase full cut off street lights so that while citizens feel secure in a scary world, our area begins to grasp that such an investment MIGHT draw amateur astronomers here for major stellar events. People who would come here to view and photograph the stars normally have more cash to spend for this avocation.
HELLO! city business people who might want to attract a different, more cash available, motivated, regular return visitors ... it's not a big deal to contemplate. For those who are interested, there are some very fine places one can drive and park and set up some lawn chairs and watch the meteors come down; satellites zooming by; and, I think, possibly watch Special Operations forces practicing at night because several such units are stationed in New Mexico.There may be other causes for that suspicion, but I will go with the possibility based on movements of aircraft ... that Special Ops choppers are practicing with Special Ops forces down here, in SW NM, where there is plenty of room for adventurous manuvers. Dark skies are not so far out of Silver City that we can go if we want. No, it's not what we have been promised in terms of "dark skies" here in Silver City. Town council really ought to get some estimates from the people who've established a Cosmic Campground near Alma, on what benefits we might accrue by just turning off the street lights for two nights of the year, even then, not all night.
I won't hold my breath. In the meantime, I'll get in my car while I can, and drive out to make a wonderful night. It's called a choice towards "progress not perfection." It's been a personal tradition to view the Perseids, if at all possible. We also have great amateur astronomers who give us star parties at City of Rocks. I hope this might help. Others have and probably might consider letting their views be known. We have come a long way ... but can come much farther. I'm looking forward to seeing the Leonids if I can. For me, it's also a spiritual experience. The mysteries of the vastness of the Universe, Einstein said he could only "wonder at."