Dark sky astronomy this weekend

Morris Jones mojo at whiteoaks.com
Wed Feb 22 08:01:41 PST 2006

Normally Jane and I set up telescopes on the city sidewalk to introduce 
"accidental astronomers" to the Moon and planets.  We also like to 
escape the city's light dome for a night with the beautiful deep sky 
objects that can't be seen under city lights.

Excursions away from the city are most worthwhile when there's no bright 
Moon in the sky, so we usually pick the weekend closest to New Moon.

This weekend on Saturday, February 25, we'll visit Joshua Tree National 
Park with the Andromeda Society of Yucca Valley for their monthly star 
party under dark skies.  Imagine a sky filled with about 1,700 stars, 
instead of the 20 or so you usually see from L.A.!

Early in the evening we'll have great views of the winter sky and Milky 
Way, full of star clusters and nebulae.  Later in the evening our planet 
will spin toward the spring sky, and we'll be able to look toward 
galactic north into the giant Virgo cluster of galaxies.  You'll also 
see meteors and earth-orbiting satellites crossing overhead.

 From a dark location, you can see enough stars to see the shapes of the 
constellations and easily imagine the figures for which they're named. 
It's better than the best planetarium show you'll ever see!

But it is colder.  If you come along, be sure to dress in lots of layers 
and bring lots of water or sports drinks to stay hydrated.  You also 
might want to bring along a comfortable chair and a pair of binoculars 
for cruising through the Milky Way and counting meteors.

The star party officially starts near sunset at 5:30 p.m. at the Hidden 
Valley Picnic Area of Joshua Tree National Park.

If you are planning to come, let us know so we can be sure to connect.

The star party is sponsored by the Andromeda Society of Yucca Valley: 

Best regards,
Morris Jones
Monrovia, CA
Old Town Astronomers http://www.otastro.org

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