Southern California Desert Video Astronomers

Your Subtitle text

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!

Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater

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



What's Happening

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


* * * * * *

 The Globe at Night campaign of
  Next Event January 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


Contact us at:

Scroll down to see
What's Up!
In our night skies




Check out the 
Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater
Meetup site
for further & future details
Upcoming Events


January Skies 


The demure star Gliese is centered in this sky view will one day be our next door stellar neighbor. The faint 9th magnitude red dwarf, currently 63 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus, was recently discovered to be approaching our Solar System.

Known in the catalogs of nearby stars as Gliese (Gl) 710 it is predicted to come within nearly 1 light-year of the Sun ... about 1.5 million years from now. At that distance this star, presently much too faint to be seen by the naked eye, will blaze at 0.6 magnitude - rivaling the apparent brightness of the mighty red giant Antares. Ultimately Gliese 710 poses no direct collision danger itself, although its gravitational influence will likely scatter comets out of the Solar System's reservoir, the Oort cloud, sending some inbound.

This future stellar encounter was discovered by researchers Joan Garcia-Sanchez and Robert Preston (JPL), and collaborators while studying stars in the solar neighborhood using data from the Hipparcos Astrometry Satellite. The star field shown is based on the Palomar Digitized Sky Survey and is 1/4 degree wide (about half the diameter of the full moon). 


It's Back! Comet Lovejoy is again visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

According to Sky & Telescope:
The comet reached magnitude 5.0! It’s in Lepus, easily visible now from northern latitudes in late evening when Orion stands high. Tonight (December 28) it will pass by the globular cluster M79, which is smaller and much fainter at magnitude 8.4. From Sky & Telescope’s hometown at latitude 42° north, the comet is a big puffball in 10×50 binoculars even through suburban light pollution. It appears moderately concentrated toward the center, with a hint of being asymmetric but no visible tail. But the tail is there alright

Observers using binoculars and small telescopes have also described the comet as:
A circular patch of white light, roughly half the apparent width of the moon.

The comet most definitely has a tail as seen in photos; we've heard some reports that it has lost and regained its tail a few times over the past weeks.

Through much of January, 2015, Q2 will be in an excellent place for viewing from the Northern Hemisphere. It is in and among the favorite northern winter constellations now, currently in front of the constellation Lepus the Hare. Use the charts above to find it. Luckily, it’s passing near Orion, which is one of the sky’s easiest constellations to spot. The most noticeable thing about Orion is its short, straight row of three medium-bright stars, known as Orion’s Belt. Find these stars, and you’re on your way to seeing the comet!

During the first week of January, 2015, the comet will move rapidly to the northwest from Lepus into the constellation Eridanus the River. It’ll be in front of the constellation Taurus the Bull by January 9.


This chart comes from, which has a great and concise article about viewing Comet Lovejoy, which you can read HERE.

Each tick indicates position as of 00:00 GMT (7 p.m. ET on the previous date).

Click HERE for SkyandTelescope’s larger, printer-friendly version of this chart.  

The annual Quadrantid shower is nominally active during the first week of January, and is best seen from northerly latitudes. However, peak activity lasts less than a day. So you need to be on the night side of Earth when this shower exhibits its relative short peak to witness the Quadrantids. Moreover, in 2015, the bright waxing gibbous moon will wash out, but the brightest Quadrantid meteors. But if you're game, try watching between midnight and dawn on January 3 and/or 4.  Stragglers will be visable for many days after the 4th.


January 5th Full Moon
Full Moon name for January is the Full Wolf Moon.
Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

Jan 8th - 14th
Catch the hard to see Mercury just after sunset. Mercury is heading into a glowing evening apparition, reaching its greatest distance from the Sun on January 14th. With Venus  assisting, this will be one of the best times in the new year to find the elusive Mercury.  

For six nights starting on the 8th, the two planets will dance cheek-to-cheek only 1° or less apart. Their tightest separation, when 
they'll be just 2/3° apart, occurs on January 10th. 

Looking to the southwest on January 10th, we'll see Venus and Mercury at their closest, under a degree apart. This map shows the sky about 25 minutes after sunset when the two planets will be about 10° high or about one balled fist held at arm’s length.

                                                    Source: Stellarium

January 9th
Starting at 5:15 – 07:05 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, there will be a double shadow transit on Jupiter.  The shadows of Io and Europa will fall simultaneously on Jupiter.

January 16th 
Again, starting at 07:51 – 08:59 p.m. PST.  Double shadow transit on Jupiter.  The shadows of Io and Europa will fall simultaneously on Jupiter.

January 20th New Moon
Occurs at 8:14 a.m. EST.  The Moon is not visible on the date of the New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Jan. 23rd/24th
Double and Triple Shadow Transit on Jupiter.

Starting at 08:35 p.m. –12:00 a.m. PST. The shadows of Io, Europa, and Callisto will fall simultaneously on Jupiter; this is an extremely rare event, which will not occur again until 2032. 

                                                                                                              Photo Credit:


Clear Sky Chart for The Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater  



Moon Phases for January 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


Follow Us On







Go to Photos & Events Link
to see pictures  of what we've been up to.


Please Help Support our efforts.

Or mail your donation to

P.O. Box 2192
Joshua Tree Ca. 92252

Thank you for your support

Note: Donations are non tax deductible

Last updated January 15, 2015