Starry, starry night

  Many New Mexicans worry that their ability to see the stars is vanishing. Because light pollution is increasing, the New Mexico Historic Preservation Alliance has declared the night sky one of the 11 most endangered places in the state.

"The night sky has always been looked at as simply a natural resource," says National Park Service staffer Joe Sovick, "but the Historic Preservation Alliance is viewing it as a cultural resource."

Chaco Culture National Historic Park, also concerned about light pollution, installed lights with motion sensors, shields and lower beams. By changing its lighting habits, Chaco was selected as the site for a $35,000 observatory project.

A star-filled night sky is important to preserving the New Mexico that locals and tourists have come to know and appreciate, Sovick says. "Tourists from all over come to these parks and for some, it is the first time in their lives that they have seen a shooting star."

*Juniper Davis

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