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.