Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Pleasant Shabbos after a Cold Start - 2/6/2010

Shabbos morning dawned cold, after a night of high wind and rain. I was out walking Spot, saw Rabbi Slonim heading for Chabad, and told him I would see him soon. Went back inside and promptly fell asleep until Noon. And this on the Shabbos when we read about Matan Torah. Oh well, I guess history repeats itself.

After lunch at Chavie and Donny's, the sky cleared with dappled cloud shadows on the Machtesh for the rest of the afternoon. The temperature was pleasant, in the low 60s, with little wind. I walked Spot off leash along the Albert Promenade at the crater's rim. It was completely silent, except for the distant sounds of children at play, making for a very contemplative mood. It was good to have the howling wind silenced for a while.

Few tourists come 'round on Shabbos, but as Spot and I were sitting, a small group from Oklahoma came by with their Israeli tour guide. As luck would have it, I didn't have any blogging cards on me. The tour guide took the opportunity to ask me about why we moved to Mitzpe Ramon, our Zionist background, etc. The tourists seemed to find it very interesting, and the tour guide even joked that it was hard to arrange such meetings.

In the evening we headed over to Chavie and Donny's for Havdalah. As we left our apartment building, we saw a completely clear sky with bright stars and outstanding Mars rising in the east. As we looked up, we saw a satellite in orbit cross between Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins, move slowly northward, and suddenly disappear as it lost the reflected sunlight in the setting sun. It was a beautiful and quiet sight.

Weather report at 6:15 PM

Bright stars and planets in the night sky
Winds calm
Pleasant today; rain last night

Temp: 52 F
Wind chill: 52 F
Humidity: 48 %
Heat index: 51 F
Dew point: 36 F
Wind max: 1 mph
Wind avg: .6 mph
Wind direction: S

A little later in the evening I took Spot for a walk on the Machtesh overlook. Despite the bright light from the nearby youth hostel, the night sky was brilliant with ochre-colored Mars rising in the East, just after opposition so the closest and brightest it has been in 2 1/2 years. It was riding close to Orion, with Mars rivaling the even redder red-giant star Betelgeuse in Orion's shoulder. I was treated to my first ever sighting of Canopus, the brightest star in the southern constellation Carinae, the second brightest star in the heavens after Sirius, which was high above it. Canopus just barely clears the southern horizon at this latitude, so it sparkled with a multi-hued brightness from atmospheric refraction.

The night sky from Mitzpe Ramon on 2/6/2010 at 7:00PM


  1. Welcome.
    Three times out with Spot? And you can't make it to schule? MR must be a great place for dogs but not for God. Oh well.

  2. I'm afraid it's the person and not the place, :(


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