Southern California Desert Video Astronomers

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Our Mission.............................
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




Let's explore our wonderful Universe together!

Change is the essential process of all existence.....Spock.                    Leonard Nemoy 1931 - 2015


Fire Ball Season is Here.

For a few weeks around the March equinox, bright meteors, aka fireballs is the time of year when bright meteors appear in greater number than usual. It has been observed, the appearance rate of fireballs can increase by as much as 30 percent,  according to NASA.

Why does this happen? Why should there be more fireballs at one time of year than at another? The American Meteor Society says:
This could be due to the fact the Antapex radiant lies highest above the horizon this time of year during the evening hours.  

NASA has a different view on the possible cause.  A NASA website has suggested:
The reason why is still unknown, but one hypothesis is that more space debris litters this section of Earth’s orbit. Since Meteors are debris from space. They typically range in size from a few feet (about a meter) to smaller than a grain of sand. As these objects enter the earth’s atmosphere, they vaporize due to friction with the air.  NASA scientists have set up a network of ground cameras that track and record video of meteors flaming overhead.
The next meteor shower will be the Lyrids in April.

March 5th
Tonight’s full moon is the smallest full moon of the year. We’ve heard it called the micro-moon or mini-moon. This March 5, 2015 full moon lies about 50,000 kilometers (30,000 miles) farther away from Earth than will the year’s closest full moon.


Every year has a closest full moon, of course. The mini-moon returns about one month and 18 days later with each passing year, meaning that, in 2016, the year’s smallest full moon will come on April 22. In 2017, it’ll come June 9. In 2018, the year’s smallest full moon will come on July 27. And so on. 

           Lovely Luna Photo by Valeree Woodard March 3rd 2015

The March full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Worm Moon because this was the time of year when the ground would begin to soften and the earthworms would reappear. This moon has also been known as the Full Crow Moon, the Full Crust Moon, the Full Sap Moon, and the Lenten Moon.

March 9th
Zodiacal light in west after sunset.
At early evening tonight and for the next several weeks,  those of us in the Northern Hemisphere can observe the mysterious zodiacal light in the west each night as full darkness falls. You will need a dark sky to see it,  but you can look for the zodiacal light to jet upward in the direction of the planet Venus, the brightest star-like object in the evening sky. Venus, the third-brightest celestial body, after the sun and moon. Venus pops out first thing at dusk.  As dusk gives way to darkness, watch for Mars to pop out below Venus and then for the zodiacal light to appear in this section of sky.

The zodiacal light is caused by sunlight reflecting off interplanetary dust particles that orbit the sun within the inner solar system. People at mid-northern latitudes can see the zodiacal light after dusk at present because the ecliptic the plane of the solar system is nearly perpendicular to the horizon on March evenings. The farther south you live within the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate zone, the more likely you are to spot the zodiacal light.


The best time to see this pyramid of glowing light is about 80 to 120 minutes after sunset.  

On the flip side, the Southern Hemisphere, the month of March presents the zodiacal light in the morning sky, in the east just before dawn. A bright moon is up before dawn in the early-to-middle part of March 2015. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, wait until after mid-March – when the moon has waned to a thin crescent or left the morning sky entirely to look for the zodiacal light before dawn.  
Either way....
if you find yourself beneath a dark  sky be sure to check it out.

March 20th 
Total Solar Eclipse of the Sun.  
According to Sky & Telescope, viewing this eclipse will be quite challenging.   It's an especially wide track, up to 303 miles (487 km) wide, 
with a maximum of 2 minutes, 47 seconds of totality. The path is largely confined to the extreme North Atlantic and the open water between Greenland and Scandinavia. 

Totality will only be seen from the remote Faroe Islands (halfway between Iceland and Norway) and Svalbard (halfway between Norway and the North Pole). In these 
locations, diehard eclipse-chasers can expect 2 minutes of totality beginning at 9:41 UT and 2½ minutes beginning at 10:11 UT, respectively. These ice-swept outposts are so far north that in most of Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitsbergen, mountains will block views of the eclipsed Sun. The prospects for clear skies from those bits of dry land and for the tracts of sea around them is relatively poor, with no site offering better than a 50:50 chance of clear sky at eclipse time.

the Moon is near perigee and thus look somewhat larger than usual in the sky, the area from which a partially covered Sun can be seen is also large: all of Europe, northwestern Asia, and northern Africa. 

March 20th
March Equinox.
The March equinox occurs at 22:45 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout 
the world.

This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.

Also on March 20 - New Moon. The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 09:36 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.  And don't forget to be on the lookout for those March Fire Balls.

The constellation Gemini  can be easily found in the evening sky, just above and to the left of Orion for observers in the Northern Hemisphere.  Gemini is one of the 12 original constellations of the zodiac. It is in Gemini that the sun reaches its most northerly limit on the date of the solstice. The Gemini constellation is marked by two of the brightest stars in the sky, Castor and Pollux.

March 22nd  
After sunset, be sure to check out the moon and Venus in the western twilight sky.

March 24th
Check out Aldebaran and the Moon 7 p.m. PDT. The First Quarter Moon passes close to the red giant star Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. The bright Pleiades star cluster is off to the right. The moon will pass in front of Aldebaran for observers in northern latitudes: Kazakhstan, Russia, northeastern Scandinavia, extreme northeastern
China, northern Greenland, northwestern Canada, and Alaska.


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Clear Sky Chart for The Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater  



Moon Phases for March 2015

January moon, February moon, March moon, April moon, May moon, June moon, July moon, August moon, September moon, Ocotber moon, November moon, December Moon

The World's First & Only Live Astronomy Theater.

SCDVA, Official IDA Chapter Serving The High Desert Region
San Bernardino County


IDA International Dark Sky Association

"Ask not what dark skies can do for you, rather,
Ask what you can do for dark skies."

                                                                                Inspired by a quote from JFK



Join the World for
Earthhour 2015

March 28th 8:30pm.

The Globe at Night campaign of
  Next Event March 11 - 20

The Globe at Night dates for 2015 have just been released! They will be:
January 11-20
February 9-18
March 11-20
April 9-18
May 9-18
June 8-17
July 7-16
August 5-14
September 3-12
October 3-12
November 2-11
December 2-11

For more info go to
Globe at Night

Book Your 2015 Events Now Under the Beautiful Joshua Tree Night Skies


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




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Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater

Check out the  
Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater


Meetup site
for further & future details
Upcoming Events




Clear Sky Chart for The Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater  



Moon Phases for March 2015

January moon, February moon, March moon, April moon, May moon, June moon, July moon, August moon, September moon, Ocotber moon, November moon, December Moon


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Last updated March 21, 2015