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Aruba Skies

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#1 Jersey Star Man

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 06:49 PM

My daughter (12 yrs old) and I spent a few nights last week looking at the sky searching for our summer favorites. Summer Triangle, Lyra, Cygnus, Big dipper etc... No scope just hanging out looking. It was great fun....
This week my wife and another mom are in Aruba with all the kids. my daughter was talking to me on Skype and was telling me the night sky looks different there... I am no expert by any means and was wondering how different it could look? I would love for her to see something we can't see here in NJ. Anybody have any ideas of things to see or differences she could take note of? She would think she was the cats meow talking about the skies in Aruba to her science teacher this fall... Thanks for any help you could offer!

#2 Fuzzyguy


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Posted 25 June 2012 - 07:47 PM

Aruba should be far enough south for her to see some of the southern constellations and DSOs you can't see from New Jersey like the Southern Cross and the Magellanic Clouds to name a couple. Don't know what's up down there right now though. What a great place to see things she can't see at home!

#3 Tony Flanders

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:31 PM

Aruba is far enough south for the sky to look a whole lot different from in the nothern U.S. -- and a whole lot better, especially at this time of year.

Scorpius is now at its highest as the sky grows fully dark, but at our latitude its tail still scrapes the horizon. In Aruba, the entire constellation will be high in the sky -- and utterly magnificent. The only serious rival to Orion.

Alpha and Beta Centauri, by far the finest star pair in the sky, should be low in the south as the sky grows dark. And of course Alpha Centauri (or its companion Proxima, aka Alpha Centauri C) is the closest star to the Sun.

The Southern Cross may be visible right on the horizon, but that's a stretch.

#4 MikeMcCaskey


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Posted 26 June 2012 - 09:07 AM

The Skymap for June Zero Latitude would be a good place to start for a general reference.


#5 hm insulators

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:51 AM

Aruba is about 12 degrees north latitude, so the Southern Cross will be easily visible before it sets--but watch out for the so-called "False Cross." I think Crux will be due south or southwest of Corvus. Crux is visible from as far north as southern Florida.

I hope they at least brought a pair of binoculars; just to scan the Milky Way up and down with binocs alone at that latitude would be a treat!

Omega Centauri is beautiful. At my latitude, it's fairly easy to pick out with binoculars in a green-sky location even through some of the light pollution from Phoenix. If your wife and daughter can somehow get access to a telescope, Omega Centauri will be an even more lovely sight in Aruba than it is through a scope in a dark location away from Phoenix.

And the Magellanic Clouds are worth checking out. I've always wanted to see those, but even Hawaii is too far north (I lived there for a number of years).

#6 Astrohead


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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:19 PM

Ngc 5139 Omega Centaury Globular Cluster!!!

#7 Andrev



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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:27 PM


My suggestion. Download free Stellarium and put Aruba coordinates, you will have exactly the same sky as there. That's the easiest way to figure out what your daugther is looking at.



#8 Tony Flanders

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:42 PM

Crux is visible from as far north as southern Florida.

Yes it is -- in April. It's a bit past its prime now.

#9 Philler


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Posted 16 July 2013 - 08:12 AM

Hi,I know this thread is over a year old. But I stayed in Aruba in Aug'07 on the Eagle Beach area. I brought my 8X42 binoulars and enjoyed the summer milky way. At about +12 degrees you can see down to about -70 degrees. The skies are not bad on the beach if you can avoid external lights from the resorts, and you can see the milky way fairly well. I went out on the beach every night at all hours of the night and I was surprised at all the DSOs I could see in binoculars. And in Aruba you are almost assured of clear skies each night. Occasional rain storms will sneek in during the night, but will leave and clear off in a half hour or so. (Aruba is actually a desert sitting in the Caribbean.) I plan to return to Aruba this Feb. or early March to catch Eta Carina to Crux and Centaurus show.
I first saw the Southern Cross and A and B Centuri from the Big Island in Hawaii in June, 2005. And it's at 19 degrees there. So Aruba at 12 degrees should be a cinch for Carina, Vela, and Crux. A strategy I plan to use this time in Aruba is to scout out some of the interior locations away from Orangestad and the resorts. I plan to take a road map and check out some areas like around the "gold mine ruins" and and the Natural Bridge area and the north and east shore area. I will scout it out in the daytime and mark it on the maps so I can find my way back to the resort at night.
Aruba is not too bad on light pollution. Arubans haven't kept up with American on LP, thank goodness. I can't wait to see Orion very high in the sky.
Hope this helps.

#10 StarStuff1



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Posted 25 July 2013 - 04:22 PM

My wife and I spent a week on Aruba primarily for the total solar eclipse in Feb 1998. Tne night skies on the beach were not too bad. It is nice to be at that latitude.

A couple of years earlier we spent 8 days at a beach resort on Tobago at latitude 10.5°. Even darker skies. Unfortunately we never got to see the Magellanic Clouds due to a "mist" hanging over the South American continent in the SW.

#11 Philler


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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:50 AM

Hi Star stuff,
I thought about some other islands like Tobago, Isla Margarita, and even the neighboring islands by Aruba like Curacao, and Bonaire. But going to these other islands is not always very straight forward. There can be too many flight connections, taking too long, and sometimes you wonder what kind of crazy, dangerous looking airport you are landing in, not to mention a standard overnight layover. So I decided to stick with going to a place I am familiar with: Aruba, where getting through customs is a breeze, good airport, easy one connection flight and there in Aruba in about 6 hours. Arubans take US money(readily, of course), speak English (except for "bonbini"), and I noticed that lights and other things seem to shut down about midnight,(even better for astronomy).
They even have this observatory there near the Arikok National Park. I think it's called White Knight Observatory, or something like that. I think they have a 10" reflector there. I may try do some observing in the National Park if it's open at night, or in the area of the observatory.

Anyway to Jersey, Go with your family to Aruba next time, you will love it for a lot of reasons! You may find you are staying up pretty late because of the clear night skies you will enjoy.

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