Posted 25 June 2012 - 06:49 PM
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!
Posted 25 June 2012 - 07:47 PM
Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:31 PM
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.
Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:51 AM
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).
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.
Posted 16 July 2013 - 08:12 AM
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.
Posted 25 July 2013 - 04:22 PM
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.
Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:50 AM
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.