On the road: Annular eclipse trip, May 22, 2012

Posted by Rich Talcott
on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The San Esteban del Rey Mission is the largest structure on Acoma Pueblo. // All photos by Evelyn Talcott
The final day of the MWT Associates, Inc., tour to see the major astronomical sites of Arizona and New Mexico — and last Sunday’s annular solar eclipse, of course — was just as beautiful as the previous four. Sunny skies have been the rule, with only a few stray clouds that didn’t bother us at all. Tuesday was a bit warmer than we’ve experienced, however, with highs in Albuquerque reaching the low 90s.

Yesterday, the other 32 tour members and I spent most of the day visiting the Sky City of Acoma. Acoma Pueblo has been populated since the 12th century, making it one of the longest continuously inhabited villages in the United States. It sits atop a 357-foot-high (109 meters) mesa that offers spectacular views of the surrounding plains, mesas, and mountains. But the town itself proves just as fascinating. We wandered among the houses, which have no running water and no publicly provided electricity (some homes do have generators). We visited the impressive San Esteban del Rey Mission Church. And we learned about the history of the Acoma people from our excellent tour guide, Robert. The Acoma continue to produce exquisite pottery, and several artists had their wares displayed for our enjoyment (and their deserved enrichment).

The top of the mesa offers a stunning vista of the surrounding plains and mesas.
After a brief visit to Old Town Albuquerque and a wine tasting at Gruet Winery, we had a traditional end-of-tour dinner celebration at a local restaurant. It was a time of good food and good conversation, and a time to look forward to the next big astronomical events. The transit of Venus in two weeks and November’s total solar eclipse in Australia promise to be just as thrilling. Those of us at Astronomy magazine plan to view these once-in-a-lifetime events — and we hope you get to see them, too.

Related blogs:
On the road: Annular eclipse trip, May 21, 2012
On the road: Annular eclipse trip, May 20, 2012
On the road: Annular eclipse trip, May 19, 2012
On the road: Annular eclipse trip, May 18, 2012

 

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