On February 4-5, 2017, ten TEDxABQ Adventurers made their way out to Animas, NM, to attend a Dark Sky New Mexico opportunity to view space. The group was met by host, Michael Hensley, and our guide astrophotographer, Al Acker.
Adventurers received a tour of the grounds, which contained many observatories leased to astrophotographers from around the world (yes, the world)! Each observatory was fitted with the highest tech building and equipment available. Each building had a retractable roof that allowed the telescope to have a 360 degree view of the sky. All observatories were equipped with systems that allowed the astrophotographer to access their building and open/close the roof, move the telescope, and use security systems in place to monitor the weather and the building itself.
That evening the group gathered in the observatory to learn the computer system that tells the telescope where to point and the camera what to take a picture of. Adventurers, with Al’s guidance, were able to “drive” the system and take some pictures.
There were some clouds that prohibited pictures being taken until 1:00am! At this time, the Adventurers who were still awake woke up those who were sleeping, and the group had amazing clear skies until 4:00am!
Michael and Diana Hensley were such gracious hosts who opened their home to Adventurers to sleep. Food was also provided by the Hensley’s and consisted of an amazing Cowboy dinner of steak and potatoes and homemade breakfast burritos that next morning. They also provided 24hr coffee!!!
THANK YOU to both the Hensley’s and Al Acker for welcoming our group to experience this Dark Sky New Mexico