The Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory with industry glow from the Permian Basin. (Courtesy of Ethan Tweedie)
Here in West Texas, there are two major searches ongoing. While companies in the Permian Basin seek more deposits of oil and gas underground, astronomers at McDonald Observatory are searching the sky for an answer to the question: what is dark energy? But while one resource is produced, another is threatened. With the increase in oil and gas activity, the dark nighttime skies are brightening.
Lewis takes us stargazing with Jim and Ana Chandler in their backyard observatory, searching for distant galaxies with Steve Odewahn and Bill Wren at McDonald Observatory, touring the Petroleum Museum in Midland with Kathy Shannon, and drilling for oil in the Alpine High Play. “Dark Skies, Dark Energies“ gives us a look below, and above, West Texas by exploring two omnipresent entities – oil, and dark energy.