Besides wildflowers and exploring trails, looking at the night sky in the desert has to be one of my favorite reasons for coming here. I have a reclining lounge chair, perfect for leaning back with a pair of binoculars and combing the sky for star clusters.
As you can see, there were high clouds over the campsite this morning, but tonight was spectacular. Not a cloud in the sky. A little bit of dust, but the stars reached all the way down to the tops of the surrounding mountain ranges, with only a little bit of twinkle. It was a real treat to relax in the darkness, and enjoy a few of my favorites – the Pleides, the Beehive, the double cluster in Cassiopeia, and the clusters in Auriga. There was a red-looking planet in Castor and Pollux, and sure enough, when I checked on Sky and Telescope, using their Java sky application, I confirmed that it was Mars.
The desert is a beautiful place, day or night. But especially on those nights when there are clear skies.
Wait, you mean there are more than eight stars in the sky? That’s all we can see from here in NYC…
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