Reach­ing For the Skies

Catron Courier - - Front Page - by Sam “Sweet Wa­ter” Sav­age

Ca­tron County has some of the dark­est skies in the con­ti­nen­tal United States, as as­tronomers from all of the world know. Be­cause of that Ca­tron County is be­com­ing a fa­vorite spot for as­tronomers to set up ob­ser­va­to­ries.

I sat down with Tom Csurilla, the owner and op­er­a­tor of Top of the World sub­di­vi­sion in Pie Town to talk about the ap­peal of our dark skies and how it’s ef­fect­ing the lo­cal busi­nesses.

“Af­ter this lat­est project is com­pleted at Top of the World, we’ll have seven ob­ser­va­to­ries right here in our sub­di­vi­sion,” Tom said, “And there are plenty more in other parts of Ca­tron County.”

It turns out that a gen­tle­man named Leonard Rose in­stalled an observatory at Top of the World back in 2005. Since that time, Robert and Mary Sharp from Sacra­mento, Bobby and Theresa Bir­ket, Janet Poque, and John Evalin all bought lots and in­stalled their own ob­ser­va­to­ries.

The tech­nol­ogy in­side these re­mark­able tele­scopes has con­tin­ued to im­prove. Many of these new ob­ser­va­to­ries are re­motely op­er­ated. An as­tronomer can view stars from any­where in the world and see the re­sults on their lap­top com­puter. And as­tronomers like noth­ing more than to share their find­ings with other as­tronomers. As a larger com­mu­nity of as­tronomers comes to our area, the more ap­peal­ing the so­cial as­pect of as­tron­omy will be part of the rea­son the ap­peal.

As word spreads about Ca­tron County’s dark skies and bur­geon­ing as­tron­omy com­mu­nity ex­pect more as­tronomers to come en­joy star gazing. And as the as­tronomer’s stars rise in the sky, so can the lo­cal busi­nesses that cater to them.

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