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Weekly Cosmos Report - Baja Night Sky #77

Date: 20/03/2015

Week of March 19, 2015:


1) Venus, with Mars hiding a fist below, is the bright evening "star." Jupiter is high in the east. NASA just announced that Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede, likely has more water than Earth's oceans. You can spot 4 of the 63 moons using binoculars. Also in the east, Leo the Lion is chasing the hunter Orion westward. In a couple of months you can tell Orion goodbye as Leo & its bright star Regulus dominate the spring sky. To find Leo, look for the backward question mark forming the lion's mane. New moon and the first day of Spring arrive tomorrow, Friday, March 20. Take note of where the sun rises/sets on Friday for a good approximation of true east/west.

2) For reasons not completely understood, there are more fireballs, super bright meteors flashing across the sky, around the Spring Equinox than the rest of the year. So with weather warming up and clearer skies, now is a great time to find a dark sky location nearby, invite some friends over, and enjoy the evening watching the Baja Night Sky.

3) Thank you, Rodrigo and crew from Rancho Sotol, and the guests who attended a Baja-Night-Sky stargazing party at the Rancho's enchantingly beautiful dark-sky location high above El Sargento. Weather was perfect for a tour of the night sky and its many Greek & Native American legends, spotting faint Messier objects with binoculars, and recounting the great supernova of 1054, recorded in petroglyphs by Baja Indians. Contact info@ranchosotol.com if you are interested in another stargazing night, or have ideas for a new event at the Rancho. Also visit www.ranchosotol.com for an online tour.

4) After the dark-sky event, several long-time residents commented that the drive back into light-polluted El Sargento and La Ventana was a shocker. They had forgotten the great dark skies we used to have. Bringing them back will be difficult, but they would attract people who enjoy visiting Dark-Sky locations. Click on the links below for resources about the impact of light pollution, and how to retro-fit or make first-time installations of dark-sky light fixtures that will enhance the ambiance and value of both residential and commercial property.
http://www.darksky.org/assets/documents/idabrochure.pdf and http://www.darksky.org/lighting-guidance/residential-lighting-guide

Tom at BajaNightSky@gmail.com

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