Last night's pass of the International Space Station was fun to watch
from Myrtle and Lime Streets. We had a big crowd out to watch with us.
There is another excellent pass tonight from the LA area. It begins at
7:58 PM Pacific time, is 6 min in duration, with a maximum height of 78
degrees, begining in the South-Southwest sky at 7:58 pm. The
International Space Station reaches its highest elevation at 8:01 p.m.
and ends at 8:04 p.m. in the East-Northeast.
I signed up for an email alert from this website and get a notice the
day before the next pass. Here's the link.
I also use this website for more satellite passes and nice maps,
Heaven's Above, http://www.heavens-above.com/
. I set up dozens of our
commonly used observing locations, but the SpotTheSyation email is easy!
I also updated our Old Town Astronomers with hightlights of the month
(Lunar Eclipse in April 14) and upcoming event dates. On the west coast
the eclipse begins at 9:53 p.m. and ends at 3:38 a.m. If you just want
to catch the *total eclipse*, set your alarm clock for midnight on the
West Coast. The total eclipse will last *an hour and a half from
beginning to end*.
Several people asked us last night about observing from a dark sky. Our
next public dark sky star party is on May 31, in Mojave National
Preserve's Black Canyon Group Campsite. It's highly recommended to
arrive before dark (sunset is at 8:30 p.m.), enjoy the potluck, set up
your tent in the large group campsite (RSVP required but there is no
cost), and visit the Hole in the Wall visitor center open 10-4
Saturdays, or take some of the nearby hikes. Then near 8:30 p.m. we'll
share views through an assortment of telescopes for as long as there are
people wishing to observe with us (or until we poop out). We typically
leave some telescopes up all night to catch special views before dawn.
More on that closer to the date. The Mojave National Preserve doesn't
have the Spring Star party flyer up yet (I owe them a "what we'll see"
writeup) but you can look at the November 2013 flyer to get the flavour
of the event. You can see the park map here to plan your driving, where
the visitor centers and attractions are.
We drive from Monrovia by driving to Barstow, then I-40. Wen we get to
Ludlow it's 49 miles east past Ludlow to the Essex Road turnoff on I-40.
After 10 miles you bear right on Black Canyon Road. Follow Black Canyon
Road another ten miles to Hole-in-the-Wall Campground/Visitor Center (to
the left, and Black Canyon Group campground to the right) The large
group campground, with pit toilets, a water pump, covered picnic tables,
fire pit and flat cement pad for telescopes is 1/4 mile further on a
gravel road (not suitable for motorcycles, we learned last year)
I'll let you know the RSVP # soon, but you can always send me an email
and I'll pass on any names/numbers to the Mojave National Preserve
Conservancy folks. Hope to see some of you this year! It's a long
drive, but with dark skies, a free campsite, and plenty of daytime hikes
nearby it's an experience you'll cherish as much as we do!
See you on our next sidewalk date, May 3! Jane
Jane Houston Jones
@jhjones @CassiniSaturn @NASAInsight
What's Up For April? Lyrids, Lunar Eclipse, Mars at Opposition