Chan Chich Archeology Season, When Skygazing Is Also At A Premium

Death-Valley-2-Skyglow-Desktop-Wallpapers-e1492808806156.jpg

Today and tomorrow we are finalizing preparation for receiving a nearly full house of archeologists, who will be at Chan Chich Lodge for the next couple months. I came across the photo above at the same time I was looking at the to-do list related to their arrival, and am remembering that in May 2016 I was struck by the quality of night sky at Chan Chich for stargazing.

So this is a shout out to all those people who are intrigued by Mayan archeology, are stargazers, and have not yet made vacation plans for the next couple months. We have a few rooms available, so come on over!  The photo above is paid content from Intel, and while usually we avoid passing along commercials, this is on a topic we care about. It is worthy of a read. Also, after the text the Skyglow short on Vimeo is worth a look:

Timelapse photographers zigzagged 150,000 miles across the U.S. to capture the wonders of the dark skies and raise awareness about the growing threat of light pollution.

Their family and friends think they’re crazy for devoting so many nights to create Skyglow, a book and video born from Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic’s passion for nature and photography. Just how Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking brought deeper understanding of the cosmos, Heffernan and Mehmedinovic are raising awareness about the damage caused by ever increasing light pollution. Their magical timelapse photography just might do the trick. Continue reading

Preserving Darkness

13darksky-web01-superjumbo

Members of Dark Skies Inc. look for meteors in Westcliffe, Colorado. Source: New York Times

A few days back we wrote about the Perseid meteor outburst taking place between August 11th and 12th and I sincerely hope you had the opportunity to find a remote location with low night pollution to see it because it was truly a cosmic phenomenon (we lay some futon cushions on the back of a pick-up truck, drove out to an area of Gallon Jug fields at three in the morning, and laid back to gaze at the meteor shower).

A couple thousand miles away, residents of towns in the Wet Mountain Valley of southern Colorado, Silver Cliff and Westcliffe, were able to enjoy the display early Friday morning because even from the town’s limits they can see the Milky Way. It is rare to find a town with such low light contamination, but it isn’t a coincidence. Locals have sustained efforts for more than a decade to dial down on the outdoor lighting by not only dimming the light potency but also requiring lights to face downward. These communities are preserving the beauty of gazing out into a star-filled night sky and have benefited from the visitors who started to visit for the purpose of stargazing. Here’s the story as reported by the New York Times:

WESTCLIFFE, Colo. — As people around the world stepped into their backyards or onto rooftops to peer up at the annual spectacle of the Perseid meteor shower early on Friday morning, few of them had a view like Wilson Jarvis and Steve Linderer.

Continue reading

The Chan Chich Lodge Night Sky

Night Sky by Chan Chich Lodge guest Phillip Witt

Night Sky by Chan Chich Lodge guest Philip Witt

A ping from my electronic calendar recently reminded me of the upcoming appex of the Perseid Meteor Shower between August 11th and 12th. I’d specifically marked it because this will be one of the first times I’ll be in a location so beautifully free of light pollution.

Although we do much of our work in remote locations, it’s surely a matter of luck to be in one of them at just this moment and this year,  when scientists say the meteor fall will be of the greatest density in 20 years. Chan Chich Lodge is located in the midst of 33,000 acres of private land, with the only infrastructure other than the lodge itself being a small village and the farming operations of Gallon Jug. 9-plus miles of trails branch off from the lodge, as well as simple gravel access roads. Continue reading