Southern California Desert Video Astronomers
To educate & promote astronomy in order to preserve the dark skies of the California Desert and everywhere for future generations.
SCDVA, moving the line for dark skies
Our Latest and Greatest New
Giant 24' x 9' Screens
by Leonard Holmberg
Was a Hit!
Leonard setting up the mobile 3D
3D images captured live, you can see Leonard's green laser pointer from the telescope. — at JTAAT.
As the Clear Sky Chart predicted, most of the clouds cleared and the starry night allowed for a wonderful night sky display. A LIVE 12' x 9' Swan Nebula
For our next Star Party Event
Why Not Make it an All Nighter Under the Starry Nights of the Joshua Tree Desert Skies.
Make your camping reservations early
at the Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground
* * * * * *
The first Globe at Night campaign of
Next Event July 16 - 25
For more info go to
Globe at Night
Contact us at:
Scroll down to see
in our night skies
Check out the
Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater
for further & future details
Happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north!
NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 will blast off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on July 1st at 02:56:44 PDT (09:56:44 UTC). Because the launch occurs on a moonless night, the event could be visible to the naked eye for hundreds of miles - perhaps as far away as portions of Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico. Get your cameras ready!
Put a ring on it! As Jupiter has sailed off into the sunset on June 29th, located near Mars, Saturn becomes the gem of the summer night skies.
The moons of Saturn are highlighted, as one of the 62 known moons of the ringed planet and one of the most peculiar is the 907-mile-wide Lapetus, which orbits well beyond the more familiar of the 4 moons Titan, Rhea, Tethys and Dione.
Lapetus takes 79 days to complete one orbit around Saturn and like our own moon, keeps one face fixed toward the planet. When it orbits east of Saturn, Iapetus shines dimly at magnitude +12 because its dark side faces us. But when it’s off to the west of the planet, the brilliant side turns our way and we see it shine two magnitudes brighter.
lapetis Credit NASA JPL Space Science Institute
4th of July - Happy Birthday America
The moon routinely has conjunctions with bright planets and stars as it makes its way through the zodiac during the year.
The Asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres will be in conjunction one directly atop the other on July 5. Vesta will be at a 7th magnitude which should make it easy to spot in binoculars, slightly fainter, Ceres at magnitude 8.3 will take a little more effort. Since most asteroids are too small or far away to show as disks in most telescopes, the pair will look like a temporary ‘double star’ through a telescope.
What's cool about Ceres is that it's the only one located in the inner reaches of the solar system; the rest lies at the outer edges, in the Kuiper Belt. While it is the smallest of the known dwarf planets, it is the largest object in the asteroid belt.
Unlike other rocky bodies in the asteroid belt, Ceres is an oblate spheroid, rounded with a rotational bulge around its equator. Scientists think Ceres may have an ocean and possibly an atmosphere. A probe will arrive in 2015 to study the object more closely and unlock those mysteries. Can't wait for that report!
Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 11:25 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Buck Moon because the male buck deer would begin to grow their new antlers at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Full Thunder Moon and the Full Hay Moon.
New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 22:42 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
July 28, 29
The Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids are an average shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by comets Marsden and Kracht. The shower runs annually from July 12 to August 23. It peaks this year on the night of July 28 and morning of July 29. This should be a great year for this shower because the thin crescent moon will set early in the evening, leaving dark skies for what should a good show. The best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, in the southern sky, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
Late July and early August may be your best bet for watching meteors in the summer of 2014.
The Delta Aquarid meteor shower rambles along pretty steadily in late July and August, coinciding with the Perseids, which sadly will be washed out near its peak by a bright full moon.
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Last updated July 25, 2014