I enjoy the waning phases of the Moon, seeing it out my kitchen window as the light of dawn fills the eastern horizon and the shiny Moon offers itself in a gradually-decreasing shape each morning. Today at Last Quarter phase, the half-lit Moon was distinctive and dominant from the first light of dawn until the Sun had risen. But each day as the remaining disk of the Moon diminishes and the location moves farther east and nearer to the sunrise, the Moon will become harder to find in the glare of the first light of the day. It's a fitting end of the cycle for this amazing orb that brings such drama and intrigue to the night sky, from the blood moon a week ago to the amazing solar eclipses that arise from time to time.
Look east for the final phases of the waning Moon later this week. It will make a lovely pass by the brilliant planet Venus on the 25th and 26th.
I stopped by KALW to talk about some cosmic topics, including the new findings on Inflation, the new Cosmos TV series, and the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse. It's in the middle of the KALW news show "Crosscurrents" with host Ben Trefny. Click here to listen.
It's spring and time to get back out and about with public events, known as Star Parties. First, the monthly lecture and star party on Mt. Tam opens for the season this Saturday April 5th. Mt. Tam is a great spot high above the lights of San Francisco where the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA) and the Friends of Mt. Tam collaborate with the State Park System to create an unforgettable evening of science combining lectures, star tours and telescope viewing. The events take place approximately every four weeks through October, so dress warmly and come out for a fun evening.
Ritz Carlton deck
Last year I tried out an experiment doing star parties at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay and it went well, so I am back this spring conducting star parties and telescope viewing at this magnificent hotel on the coast. Come out for an elegant evening in the hotel and outstanding views of the night sky on the deck. I'll be there twice in April (4th and 25th), and twice in May (2nd and 16th). Hope to see you there.
In 2005 I began writing a column for the San Francisco Waldorf School newsletter called "The Urban Astronomer." I started this blog in 2007 as a place to archive my articles and to offer additional insights on the night sky - even if you live in a big city. In 2008 I became an occasional guest on the KFOG Morning Show, and more recently on KALW and KGO. Archived shows are posted on the blog.