There’s an observatory in Texas… Near El Paso

carbonAnd you’re probably wondering how Climate Change has anything at all to do with that.

Fortunately, you have me, and I can tell you. The observatory is in the Davis Mountains, almost to Terlingua, year-round population of 11. In Terlingua, the only things that happen are the Annual Wick Fowler Memorial Chili Cookoff, people riding the rapids around the Big Bend of the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande, and a lot of Anti-Immigration activities. Fade out on that, but going east to west along Interstate 20 OR Interstate 10, you come to the junction of those roads at a town named Kent, Texas. There’s a road that leads from Kent to Terlingua. Don’t think about that.

If you ride into Kent at night, you can see a light in either direction. Looking directly west you see the lights from El Paso, pretty in its own way, reflecting off the haze. Looking to the East, you see the lights from Midland and Odessa, again, reflecting off the haze.

This causes what could best be described as “noise” light, which drowns out the starlight. Which used to be, wasn’t there. The bright lights, that is. Because of the size of the cities of El Paso/Juarez, there’s now more light, and more haze. The haze isn’t water vapor in the upper atmosphere. No, it’s carbon particulates, aka “smog”.
If you ride into Kent in daylight, you still have to cross one mountain range to get to where you can see the Franklin Mountains which split El Paso down the middle. And the thick shroud of that haze. Shroud is an excellent way to describe it, as late as the 1970s doctors in other parts of the country confidently recommended El Paso as a place for asthmatics and other chronic lung disease sufferers because of the clean air. The lack of humidity being key. No longer. Now it’s the Smog that’s killing people there.

And drowning out the light of the stars at night.

Going east, from Kent, you soon get to the Permian Basin. THE oil-richest land in Texas. It’s at the bottom of the basin, at Midland-Odessa and a name more people in the world now recognize, Crawford, Texas, that the drilling rigs are located. As you cross the basin, which used to be a freshwater shallow inland sea about 60 million years ago, you’re passing over the drinking water for 4 states in two nations. In a “boson” a very large aquifer. That’s now polluted by among other things Oilfield waste. But that’s not the whole story. The whole story is as vast as Texas. Bigger, even.

If you cross the Permian Basin in winter, you get the full taste, literally, of the Carbon Problem. The problem the Oil Industry denies is actually a problem. You’ll be breathing all those pollutants from the oil wells.

Now, the Oil Companies are trying very desperately to call it a Lie when research and observation shows that they’ve caused actual climate change with their wasteful exploitation of carbon fuels.

They get the simple minded to question it because they believe that One Robin DOES make a spring, and one cold front somehow disproves Global Warming.

And then they concatenate, which is a Latin word which means literally to make one word or one concept from a chain of smaller words or concepts (caten means “chain”) but they concatenate the concepts to somehow demonstrate that Breathing and Drinking the Poisonous Emissions is somehow healthy.

Kind of “hazy” logic. I just typed about two thousand words to get to that point.

They also tell us that their Oil Waste equals Freedom, and that the wars which they started to obtain that oil are somehow to make us all “free”.

John Lennon while in one of his more Goth-like depressive moods wrote a song “Free as a bird”, that’s a metaphor for Death.

Yep. I guess the Oil Corporations ARE offering us at least That Kind of “freedom”.

Meanwhile, the observatory in the Davis Mountains near El Paso is itself choking on the fumes from the really far-off cities of El Paso and Midland Odessa. It’s getting harder and harder to focus on the stars.

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Brother Jonah

About Brother Jonah

Recovering Texan. Christian while and at the same time Anarchist. (like Tolstoy only without the beard, for now) Constantly on the lookout for things which have relevance to things I already know. Autistic. Proud to be Ex- air force. Out of the killing machine for 27 years 4 months and 5 days woohoo!
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5 Responses to There’s an observatory in Texas… Near El Paso

  1. Avatar tony logan says:

    That observatory is not near El Paso. It is a 4 hour drive or more away depending on whether one drives like a maniac or not? You are not seeing any lights of El Paso at all from that distance, but rather perhaps a few lights Mexican side of the border 80 miles far away from El Paso. Definitely that is the only thing that one can see from Kent, too.

    The pollution that might block some of the clearness of the night sky might be dust more than anything else? Overgrazing in Mexico makes the dust much worse than it should be since it strips off any cover from the earth that the wind then picks up.

    The El Paso-Juarez area has more than 2,000,000 people but it is not so much these lights alone that are giving off the light pollution seen at McDonald Observatory. It is light reflecting off dust pollution in the air that spreads light pollution farther out than would normally be the case without dirt in the air. The dust arrives to the metropolitan area from overgrazed rural areas and then can combine with urban smog, too.

  2. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    In West Texas terms, it’s near. 4 hours means “almost there”.
    I put in that it’s near… yet really, far. It’s a perspective thing.
    I remember reading an Englishman commenting on the song “only 24 hours from Tulsa” that if you were 24 hours from anywhere in England you’d be out in the ocean or among foreign tongues.

    You start seeing the glow in the upper atmosphere usually once you pass Pecos. Seeing the haze in the daytime, (awesome yet awful in the hours just after dawn) you can see it right after you cross the mountains from Sierra Blanca. it’s like a blanket of smoke around the base of the Franklins.

    You start picking up that view on the western slopes of the Sierra and it stays with you almost to Ft Hancock. Most of the way across Hudspeth county. Seeing it from the mountain you’re looking down to it.

    When you’re rounding I-10 from about the El Paso City Limits you see it again, and, weirder, there’s spelled out on the slopes of the mountains over Juarez in white rocks “Jesus saves” in Spanish. They might have changed that since I was last there.

    The pollution has just gotten worse though.

  3. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    I saw the picture up top on a News Blurb sidebar about Copenhagen. while checking my Email .

    The ball of haze behind the Pale Rider… kind of struck the right chord. I grew up there, then moved away. It seems every time I see it, with the last view of it as a Point-of-reference, the change is horrifying. It’s a microcosm of the changes over the entire planet. Google, on their Earth app, now has an interactive map where you can see a time-lapse of the climate changes just in the past decade, as seen from space. I haven’t tried that one yet.

  4. Avatar pcm says:

    You know boys, it could be the lights from Marfa everyone is seeing. Heheheh…

    But as we all know, when Texas elected “Shrub” as Guv, he proceeded to pave the way for the worst industrial pollution violations in the nation.

  5. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    Marfa has electricity now? Far out…

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