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Critters, Moon-Venus-Pleiades,
Dr. Maarten Schmidt

Posted: 29 March 2020

Sunday, 22 March 2020, was cloudy. We saw two of our Antelope Squirrel neighbors fighting. We have never seen such viciousness before in our Antelope Squirrels. After the fight was over the injured squirrel was still alive, although it looked very weak from its shoulder wound.


Monday, 23 March, dawned overcast, but the sky began clearing mid-morning with a forecast for a clear night. It did get windy in the afternoon, as forecast, and unfortunately it stayed windy after sunset with some thin clouds still in the sky. Tuesday, 24 March, dawned clear and calm, but the forecast for the night was cloudy. I was hoping to view and photograph a 16 hour young Moon but clouds prevented it. All I got was a pretty sunset photo of Picacho Peak, 31 miles away (D850 DSLR with 600mm lens).


Wednesday, 25 March, also dawned clear but with a forecast for another cloudy night. The forecast was accurate (most cloudy nights are accurate; clear night forecasts less so). Had snow flurries Friday morning, 27 March. Saturday, 28 March, dawned clear with a clear night forecast. But clouds began appearing in early afternoon. By sunset there were clouds in most of the sky.

Saturday evening, 28 March, there was a nice conjunction of the crescent Moon, the planet Venus, and the Pleiades (M45) star cluster. The Moon was about 9° from both Venus and the Pleiades. I was able to photograph the conjunction. The clouds hide all but the brightest stars. I was able to bring out some fainter stars and Earthshine in the photograph below.


On Saturday, 25 July 1998, Laurraine and I attended the "50th Anniversary of Palomar Observatory" at the Observatory. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Griffith Observatory. Click the link to see photos I took at the event. I recently contacted Dr. E.C. Krupp from Griffith Observatory, who had taken some photos of Dr. Maarten Schmidt, me, and my copy of the 11 March 1966 issue of TIME magazine with Dr. Schmidt on the cover. I asked him if he still had those photos. He said he would try to locate them. A little while later he wrote to say he had found them, would scan them, and send them to me. Many many thanks Dr. Krupp.

collection E.C. Krupp, used with permission

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