Deep Skies – Feb 2018

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river, With tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Someone calls you, you answer quite slowly, A girl with kaleidoscope eyes….”

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On our journey west, we stopped in Rodeo, NM, a place known (by astronomers) for its viewing potential into the deep, dark skies. Oddly enough, we showed up on the worst night of the year – a full moon. For stargazing? Not so much.

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We camped at Rusty’s RV Ranch in Rodeo. Not typically private campground people, we visited this campground based on a friend’s recommendation. We only stayed overnight, but for sure we will be back when we can stay a little longer. Even the swans are dark.

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This campground is about 50 miles from any significant town, and is pretty much in the middle of nowhere (which is typically great for us). Straddling the border to Arizona and maybe about 50 miles from the Mexican border in southwestern New Mexico, you could accurately describe this location as remote. The most recent census will tell you there are a population of about 100.

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For that reason (it’s location, clear skies and remoteness), this area is a favorite for astronomers who are trying to see into the deep skies, the stars and whatever else is out there. ET, phone home. Outside lighting in the campground at night is not allowed, as it impacts people’s abilities to see into the deep sky.

The campground, almost 100% supported electrically by their own solar bank, has provided concrete platforms at some sites so that astronomers can set up their gear on a solid foundation.

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One of our neighbors had his telescope set up and for sure this is gear that is highly technical and for sure has the potential to be insanely expensive. This particular couple captured one of their photos from the stars and had it posted to the back of their RV. Unbelievable! I can’t remember what the name of this cluster of stars or nebula or whatever it was, but are the colors and beauty not amazing?

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A photo our neighbor had taken with his telescope!

Some better-healed astronomers have even purchased second homes in this area to help satisfy their astronomical leanings. We will for sure return here and spend more time. We are told that beyond the astronomers, there is great birding and hikes. But for now, we’ll have to take their word.

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