Saturday, April 01, 2006

News (and Flotsam) From the World of Science wants us all out watching the sky this evening. "...On Saturday, April 1st, the Moon is going to eclipse an entire star cluster--the Pleiades. The eclipse (or 'occultation') will be visible from eastern and central parts of North America. Start looking as soon as the sun sets. The slender crescent moon will pop out of the western twilight next to or among the stars of the Pleiades. Binoculars are recommended but not required." More details on the Spaceweather website under the headline "Don't Miss This," and at Sky & Telescope.

Meanwhile, the 2005 cohort of juveniles for the eastern whooping crane flock, who were led by ultralight on their first southbound migration last fall, have started back north on their own. Follow the news of their progress at Journey North. Pick up a glimpse of National Geographic's Crane Cam on the North Platte River while you're thinking birds. (They get a LOT more sandhill cranes than we do in the winters at Bosque del Apache, though it's the end of their season and the crances there, too, have mostly moved north.)

A friend has pointed out that there is a Google Mars. We knew about Google Moon; Mars was a surprise. The Cassini-Huygens probe team has images of small moonlets embedded in Saturn's rings (summary and article citations at Nature, but not full text), and is gearing up for a fly-by of Titan at the end of April.

We found a new drought graphic, a River Basin Snow Water Content map covering the whole west; earlier in the month there were news stories from the earliest universe (data courtesy of NASA's WMAP probe); and for a small silly treat, listen to a bullfrog at

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