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Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Ancient structures in a desolate area of land in surrounded by a Navajo reservation. Around 1,000 years ago, the architects of this place walked away.

Image via Marc Toso.

Marc Toso captured this image in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon on March 15, 2017 at about 11 p.m. Here’s what Marc told us about his image:

This past week I had the opportunity to explore some Chacoan structures outside of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. This a fabulously desolate area of BLM [Bureau of Land Management] land surrounded by the Navajo reservation. A kind and elderly Navajo man gave us permission to camp among his cows, even though he warned us that they were “man-eating cows.”

This kiva is perched on a narrow ridge of sand in the middle of a wash, teetering on the edge. Lots of rubble is strewn on the hard-pack below. It is an usual and amazing site. Multiple kivas sit in balance, giving the site the feeling of deep ceremonial significance. Around 1,000 years ago, the architects of this place walked away.

This land is outside of the Chaco Cultural Historical. The earth is barren and the skies are black. Many of the lands in the Chaco Canyon greater area are leased by oil and gas companies. I fear their lights may at some point dot these views. Hopefully on my next visit this sky and land will still remain empty.

Sirius, the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major is visible in the central frame, as well as Orion on the far right.

Thanks so much Marc!

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Bottom line: Photo of night sky over Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

Eleanor Imster

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