New Mexican skies protected with Dark Sky Park designation

Sep 02, 2013
"Milky Way, Fajada Butte." Credit: Stan Honda

The 34,000-acre Chaco Culture National Historical Park is home to many ancient wonders including the remains of a civilization that thrived over 1,000 years ago. The park, which has been protecting its archaeological riches since it was established in 1907, is now protecting its views of the starry skies too. It has just been named as the International Dark-Sky Associationʼs newest Dark Sky Park.

"Once the night sky was something that was very much a part of the human experience at Chaco and around the globe," says IDA Executive Director Bob Parks. "We are delighted that Chaco is now preserving the nighttime environment alongside their historic treasures."

As a Gold-tier IDA Dark Sky Park, Chaco has shown its commitment to preserving its near-pristine night skies. The park has adopted a set of strict lighting guidelines that include the use of dark-sky friendly lighting now and in the future, ensuring that it will do its part to keep the nighttime environment natural and unspoiled for generations to come.

The park is also exemplary in its public outreach efforts, holding numerous educational programs and events. Upcoming will be the Chaco Canyon Star Party on October 5 that will include a formal public dedication of their new IDA Dark Sky Park designation. The event will feature guest speakers, dark sky preservation messaging, and special interpretive programs, along with stargazing opportunities throughout the evenings. A commemorative poster will be given away to visitors during the event.

Other regular park events include "Archaeoastronomy of Chaco," "Public Telescope Viewing," "Pueblo Bonito Full Moon Walks," and "Campfire Astronomy." Special events are also held celebrating such as eclipses and .

Chaco Culture National Historic Park superintendent Larry Turk feels strongly about the designation. "Standing at one of the park?s 4,000 prehistoric archeological sites, one can easily imagine another human centuries earlier gazing awestruck into the same universe while surrounded by ecosystems that have adapted to the natural rhythms of the moon and stars," said Turk.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park joins eleven other parks scattered about the globe that have been recognized by IDA for their efforts in night sky preservation.

About the IDA Dark Sky Places Program

IDA established the International Dark Sky Places conservation program in 2001 to recognize excellent stewardship of the night sky. Designations are based on stringent outdoor lighting standards and innovative community outreach. Since the program began, four communities, twelve parks and five reserves have also received International Dark Sky designations.

Explore further: What you can see in the sky while waiting for fireworks on the 4th of July

More information: Learn more at www.darksky.org/parks and about Chaco Culture National Historic Preserve at www.nps.gov/chcu

Provided by International Dark-Sky Association

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Channel island named first 'dark sky' community

Jan 31, 2011

The Channel Island of Sark has been designated the first dark sky community in the world in recognition of the lack of light pollution that allows clear views of the stars at night, officials said Monday.

Bright nova in the constellation of Delphinus

Aug 23, 2013

A bright nova has recently been discovered in the constellation of Delphinus (The Dolphin). The discoverer was Koichi Itagaki, in Japan who used an 18 cm reflecting telescope with a CCD camera. The nova was ...

Saturn only visible planet through the month of April

Apr 01, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- For those who enjoy viewing clusters of planets, the evening sky in April may be a bit disappointing. Saturn will be the only planet visible for most of the night, until the sky starts to ...

Recommended for you

SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

6 hours ago

The SpaceX company returned to orbit Friday, launching fresh supplies to the International Space Station after more than a month's delay and setting the stage for urgent spacewalking repairs.

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

6 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

9 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

9 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

12 hours ago

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...