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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Beautiful Day in the Observing Neighborhood

With so much snow and cold throughout Europe and the US, I wanted to tell you about the beautiful day we just had here. With temperatures that required short sleeves, a beautiful blue sky and yellow sun, I decided to spend part of the afternoon at our observing site on a high plateau above Mitzpe Ramon.

When I arrived the weather was perfect and the wind was calm, resulting in an eerie quiet. I looked over the rim of the machtesh, where we take visitors at night when the moon is full, and contemplated the vast wonder of the world's largest erosion crater.

Machtesh Ramon from our observing site. (Click for full size image.)

The machtesh is a geological wonder land with all sorts of geological formations that reveal themselves under different lighting conditions and angles. I saw this black hill for the first time by the light of the low winter sun's rays.

A black hill reveals itself (below center) by the winter sun's light.

I hiked a short distance along the plateau until I came to this view through a notch in the walls of the machtesh.

Machtesh Ramon from our observing site.

The other side of our observing site is lined by pine trees from a JNF forest, their trunks bent by the prevailing winds. One of the things I like the best is the quiet at our site. I thought, perhaps, I heard the whirring sound of a generator in the distance. But perhaps not. At night, there is usually no sound to be heard. Sometimes a passing military aircraft; sometimes music from Mitzpe Ramon. But usually nothing; nothing at all.

A JNF forest borders our observing site.

On the way home I found the Ibex out enjoying a day in the sun.

Ibex Picnic

Keep on looking up!

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