“Astronomy Along New Mexico’s Route 60 Dark-Sky Corridor”

New Mexico Tech’s Magdalena Ridge Observatory, Etscorn Campus Observatory, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Very Large Array aren’t the only facilities conducting astronomical observations and research in our dark sky area around Socorro. From Magdalena to Pie Town, the number of amateur astronomers building observatories for both private and business use is steadily growing. One such example is a recently constructed private observatory near Pie Town that is outfitted with a 40-inch reflecting telescope, one of the largest aperture private telescopes in the country. Another facility of note is the nearby SkyPi Online Observatory, where users can operate robotic telescopes to image celestial objects remotely. The Magdalena Astronomical Society, well known for holding the popular Enchanted Skies Star Party, operates a 16-inch computer-controlled telescope at John Briggs’ Astronomical Lyceum in the dark sky village of Magdalena. And that’s just scratching the surface of the astronomical activities occurring from Socorro all the way to the Arizona border along Route 60.

Enchanted Skies Star Party attendees visit the Magdalena Ridge Observatory.

You can read all about this and more in the MRO Department of Outreach and Communications’ monthly newsletter. The September issue of the MRO Inquirer, which features the article described above by guest author John Briggs, will be sent out to members of the Friends of MRO next week; early and direct delivery of MRO’s monthly newsletter is one of the perks of membership. If you’re not a member of our Friends group yet, don’t despair – our newsletters are released to the public in the middle of each month.

Smartphone Photography student photographing the Moon using one of New Mexico Tech’s Etscorn Campus Observatory telescopes.

We kindly ask that you consider becoming a Friend of MRO and support the work the MRO Outreach team is doing. Along with publishing a monthly newsletter, the Outreach Department produces the Astro Daily articles and is active on all social media platforms, sharing our love of astronomy with the local community and beyond. While our monthly public star parties and seasonal observatory public tours are on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, we expect to be able to offer virtual streaming star parties and observatory tours soon. Your membership contribution would help support these endeavors, and make you a vital part of our mission to develop education and outreach programs, and to expand the frontiers of astrophysical research.

If you are interested in learning more about Friends of MRO, please follow this link.