Sister Moon

I apologize for not offering you a better photo of yesterday’s Super Moon but there you go. The intention was there but my equipment does not seem to be good enough for the moon, the sky in general, flowers or other close-up objects or really anything. Luckily I don’t mind; I hope you don’t either.

Yesterday’s Full Moon was the biggest and brightest moon of the year having passed closer to the Earth than usual. I found Sister Moon to be surprisingly beautiful, very feminine, rather warm and glowing. It’s just a shame that the visual effect is different on the human eye than it is through my camera lens. What can one say?

The Super Moon came within about 357,000 km of Earth, which is about 22,000 km closer than average. The moon’s distance from Earth varies because it follows an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one. I hope you had a good night’s sleep.

The photos were taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 6th, 2012. The time was 23:56:46 and 23:18:20, respectively.

Sister Moon

The Apollo Lunar Module in Costitx

The Observatori Astronòmic de Mallorca (OAM) in Costitx has a new attraction, an Apollo Lunar Module replica. The Lunar Module was the landing portion of the Apollo spacecraft.

The astronomic centre, observatory and planetarium is certainly worth a visit, all thanks to Maria Antònia Munar. I wonder how she is doing these days. She is said to be seriously ill, apart from being under criminal investigation and facing a possible prison term.

Opening hours for Planetarium sessions in Costitx are Fridays and Saturdays from 19h00 (Winter, i. e. now) and 20h00 (Summer – June, July, August, September). Visits to the observatory have to be arranged by appointment, unless you are a student and your school has taken care of the arrangements. For information or reservations, telephone 650.386.881 (09h30-13h30 only, Monday to Friday).

I can’t help feeling bewildered by the lack of information and promotion of Mallorca’s many attractions such as this one. Enormous amounts of money are spent on some really incredible projects and installations which then are often neglected, closed, forgotten about and sometimes go to waste. Take the Palma Arena, for example, or the Llotja or, today’s example, the OAM in Costitx. A great shame, really.

The photo was taken near Costitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 12th, 2011. The time was 14:19:01.

The Apollo Lunar Module in Costitx

The Winter Night Sky

As we enter a New Moon phase today, I took a good look at the winter night sky last night. I am not equipped with a telescope nor with a particularly good camera and I don’t much trust my eye sight any more. But I loved the clear sky image with trillions of stars. I even spotted a constellation that I think might be the Ursa Major (Greater Bear) but I do not know enough about the stars to be sure. You may know better.

We are blessed in Mallorca with some extraordinary skies throughout the year. At different periods of the seasons, we can ravish the stunning Milky Way, discover the Pleiades, can observe Jupiter and Mars, spot shooting stars galore and see some of the best moon images one can imagine. We are also blessed with a unique observatory and Planetarium in Costitx, the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca. You should make your way there if you want a better look at the January night sky.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 22nd, 2012. The time was 23:43:16.

The Winter Night Sky

Canis Majoris

Apologies for my liberal use of the Latin language. Of course I know that Canis Majoris is a constellation of stars in our skies of which Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris) is the brightest one. Today’s photo is rather about yesterday’s Exposició Monogràfica Ca de Bestiar in Felanitx and a different star, a canine superstar at that. The dog with the owner labelled no. 25 is a bitch who was crowned the Best of the Best, the Champion of Cans de Pastor Mallorquí, the Campeó Ca de Bestiar 2011. Her name is Auba de Can Parreta (* 2007) and the proud owner’s name is Antoni Vives Ramis. Auba de Can Parreta was also declared the winner in this year’s bitches category. The two runner-up champions overall were both male dogs, Dolç de Can Nyegos (no. 22) and Al·lot de Lluçànes (no. 18).

Auba de Can Parreta is a real superstar as she has already won virtually everything there could be won over the years, here in Mallorca. She also came best in the bitches category in 2008 and best young dog in 2007.

¡Enhorabuena!

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 25, 2011. The time was 13:04:59.

Canis Majoris

Close Encounter

According to seasky.org, today’s 2011 March full moon will be closer to our planet than it has been in 18 years. Allow me to quote:

The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 18:10 UTC. This 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, and the Full Sap Moon. This will also be the largest full moon of the year because it will be near perigee, its closest point to the Earth. It is also the largest and closest full moon in the last 18 years. Astronomers call this a supermoon, a phenomenon that occurs about every 18 years.

We don’t see more than four or five of those close encounters during an average lifetime.

I also have great pleasure in enclosing a video clip of 11 minutes duration in which a number of Mallorcan pagèsos (farmers) from the Felanitx area explain how the moon influences the growing of vines for the making of a good wine, and how a UFO was spotted near Son Suau. You’ll take in a bit of the Mallorcan lingo on the way, with subtitles in Castellano. Enjoy.

The photos were taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The dates: September 24th, 2010 and March 19th, 2011. The time was 21:16:46 and 20:59:06, respectively. The video was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of YouTube and 4kilosvinicola.

Thank you very much and

moltes gràcies.

Close Encounter

The Observatori Astronòmic de Mallorca

The Observatori Astronòmic de Mallorca (OAM) appears to have more scientific fame than visitors. Even though, the relatively young observatory is considered a pioneer amongst Spanish observatories. This year, the institution is busy celebrating its 20th anniversary. The astronomic centre was built thanks to some stubborn insistence of a certain Maria Antònia Munar, whether one actually likes her or not, and opened to grand fanfare in 1991.

Ever since, the Mallorca observatory has been making observations of astronomical, meteorological and other natural phenomena, sometimes to great success, using a total of 11 robotic telescopes to discover and track stars, comets, novas, supernovas and asteroids. OAM is also the seat of the Spanish delegation of Spaceguard.

A state-of-the-art planetarium was opened at the observatory’s premises in 2003, affording a dome of 11 m diameter with a projection area of 200 m², where courses are offered and the opportunity is given to watch the sky and learn about the stars and planets. Beware the opening hours though which may be intermittent, certainly during the winter months. When I went there recently, the observatori and the planetarium were both closed and no opening hours were being displayed. Instead, a note urged callers to concert a visit under telephone 650.386.881. Concert then if you will.

The photos (top and bottom) were taken near Costitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 19th, 2011. The time was 15:28:48 and 15:24:53, respectively. The image (centre) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of OAM‘s website.

Moltes gràcies.

The Observatori Astronòmic de Mallorca