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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's a Small World After All

I had been speaking with "Don" for a few days about arranging a star tour for his family who had traveled to Mitzpe Ramon for Pesach. We had been using our first names, so it wasn't until we were out observing and talking that I found out that Don lived in Riverdale, NY where Pam had lived before we were married. As we continued talking Don mentions that he has a medical practice in Englewood, NJ where we had lived for 10 years before making Aliyah in December 2009. Now I'm beginning to think we're going to have one of those Jewish geography moments...As it turns out "Don" was Dr. Don Liss who has a rehabilitative and physical medecine practice in Englewood, NJ where I had gone for physical therapy after tearing my quadriceps muscle in 2003. So, I got to ask Don a few questions about my knee, which still hurts after all these years, while he got to question me about astronomy! My daughter later told me that she had gone to high school in New Jersey with Don's daughter Sarah, too.

We started out with a nice dark, clear night a little bit before moon rise.  As the evening progressed the wind picked up and started blowing in high thin cirrus clouds. Fortunately the worst of them didn't materialize until later in the evening. As we were watching, the moon came up out of the clouds and we all remembered at once that we hadn't counted Sefirat Ha'Omer yet. So, we had the unique experience of counting the third day of the Omer together while observing the stars and moon above Mitzpe Ramon.

Saturn was the star, so to speak, of the evening, as it usually is when it is visible. It doesn't hurt that it's bright enough to shine through all but the heaviest cloud cover. When it's cold and windy I frequently don't get to capture our guests on the plateau, since some people have retired to the warmth of their car before the viewing is over. But I did get to capture this shot outside the Liss' hotel. I hope everyone had a great Pesach, which is over now in Israel, but continues for another day for those of you in chtuz la'aretz.

The Liss family in Mitzpe Ramon after their star gazing tour.

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