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Monday, January 30, 2012

Wherein We Celebrate a Birthday!

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Danny's 40th birthday with a special star tour overlooking Machtesh Ramon. His wife Rebecca set up a surprise party for him: A bus from Netanya with his best friends, Coen brothers movies for the round trip, and Danny still had no idea where he was or what was happening until I told him. What a wife! And she didn't even come along. It was an all men's night out celebration under the stars.

Here's an excerpt from Danny's description to his family back in the US;

It's 3:45am and we've just returned from the Machtesh, which was what felt like phase 17 of a very complex and multi-faceted birthday party.

Viewing conditions were near-perfect, and Ira, our astronomer (arrived two years ago from Englewood, by the way), showed off some amazing hardware (including 
1) a 108-mm (actually 130mm) refracting telescope
2) a nifty HUD (heads up display) star-finder
3) two dangerously bright green laser pointers.  They rock.
) and an excellent knowledge of the skies.  We observed Jupiter and its moons, the Pleiades, Mars and the Moon. 

I'm particularly proud to have observed that Mars was not in full phase:  we sort-of kind-of were able to make out a waning gibbous Mars, something our guide wasn't expecting

We watched the terminator advance across the moon, which basically amounts to watching the Sunset, backwards, from 1/4-million miles away, which is pretty amazing.  

We watched Cohen-brothers movies during the trips there and back.  A grand time was had by all.  

Thanks for an amazing tour!  Next time I'm definitely coming! (This comment from Danny's wife, who stayed home with the kids!)
What a wife! What a party!! We celebrated with sparkling wine, hot tea and coffee, and home made brownies with a nifty sparkler as a candle. The men actually cleaned up after themselves!

Danny and his friends celebrate his 40th birthday with a star tour beside Machtesh Ramon

If you'd like something different for that special someone come for a star tour party. And remember - Keep on lookin' up!

--by Ira Machefsky

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