Shale drillers are curbing the glare for telescopes
Crude explorers in North America’s busiest field have agreed to temper light pollution from the 150-foot (46-meter) tall rigs they’re using to strike oil in remote West Texas, home to the University of Texas-run McDonald Observatory.
The voluntary effort laid out ways for oil companies to reduce the skyward glare and shine more of the light toward the ground, according to a joint statement on Monday from the observatory, the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association.
Perched atop Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains, the observatory has been taking advantage of some of the darkest night skies in the continental U.S. since the 1930s, according to its website. That’s been challenged by a shale revolution that’s pushed drilling to record levels, prompting McDonald to spend the past two years working with explorers to develop new lighting guidelines, informs Bloomberg.
The campaign was supported by a grant from explorer Apache Corp., the groups said.