Preserve the Dark Night Skies of New Mexico.. Hello Moon!
Skies dark enough to clearly see the stars are disappearing worldwide-more than half of the people alive on the planet today will never see the Milky Way. The culprits are pollution and the artificial lights of mankind.
Dark skies are especially important in Native American cultures. Many Indian traditions are based on stories involving the stars, which can only be effectively passed on to the next generation if the stars are visible in the sky.
Even for those of us who are not Native Americans, a bright night sky is a special thing. The look of wonder that fills the face of a child when she or he first clearly sees the stars, is a treasure worth preserving for future generations.
One New Mexico night sky is a great resource-the clear, unpolluted air and low population density means that across much of the State, the stars, moon, and planets fill the night with rare brilliance. In Ramah, our altitude of over 7,200 feet makes the show especially stunning.
It is a requirement of New Mexico law that our night skies be protected as much as possible from light pollution. The New Mexico Night Sky Protection Act regulates outdoor lighting fixtures to preserve and enhance the State's dark sky.
As more people move into Timberlake/Ramah and build homes, our brilliant night sky could be greatly dimmed by indiscriminate outdoor lighting. Please use outdoor lighting only where absolutely necessary, install properly shielded fixtures, and keep wattage as low as possible.
Help us preserve our night sky, so we can continue to look with awe into the vast brightness of stars above this unique and wonderful place.
Here is a Zuni story, based on the Milky Way:
The Stink Bug and The Milky Way
Have you noticed the big black beetles that trundle slowly from place to place in the summer? If you disturb them they put their heads down to the ground and their rumps up in the air, and if you get too close they will spray you with stink. Well, here's the reason they put their heads down like that.
Long ago, those beetles were given the job of putting the stars in the sky. Each was given a big bag filled with stars and up they went into the sky, where they spread out and began placing the stars here and there, as they were supposed to do.
One beetle, however, was very clumsy and tripped-and all his stars spilled in a long line across the sky, making what we call the Milky Way. Ever since then, whenever people get near, stink bugs put their heads down and hide their faces in shame.