Sunday, April 26, 2015

Baby Quail!

Yes, it is spring in the desert and the baby quail have begun to emerge. We've got a family with 15 babies that has just made their first appearance. Here are some pics taken yesterday.

4 Baby Quail
A close-up on one of the chicks.

It may be hard to tell, as they blend in well, but 12 of the 15 babies are in this shot.
Poppa Quail with one of the chicks.
Momma Quail with her babies.
Another close-up on one of the chicks.
Standing Watch.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Venus, the Seven Sisters and a Bright Iridium Flare

We've got beautiful spring weather and clear, moonless skies right now. The night sky always has something good to offer.
Right now brilliant Venus is the brightest thing in the western skies. It is currently making a close passage with the Pleiades star cluster (aka The Seven Sisters & M45) -- its the little group of stars to the upper right of Venus in the photo above.
This evening we also had a bright iridium flare visible, shining at magnitude -6.9. That's it above, gliding through the stars that make up the hindquarters of Leo, the lion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Sunset

Here's how Sunday's Easter sunset looked from my back yard.
Not bad. Yeah, I'm a few days late, but as they say, better late than never.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lunar Eclipse

This morning was the third in a series of recent lunar eclipses visible from North America. The first was April 15, 2014 and the second October 8, 2014. I missed the first two completely. I was on travel for the first attending a sea turtle symposium in New Orleans where it was rainy and cloudy. I was home for the second one, but it was uncharacteristically cloudy in Tucson, so no eclipse.
Yesterday afternoon and evening I was pretty worried about this one as the skies were cloudy. It made for a nice sunset, but would they blot out the eclipse? Thankfully, no.
Canon T31, 250mm lens (cropped), 1.6 sec., f/4 ISO 3200
There were clouds, but not enough to eclipse the eclipse.

During a total lunar eclipse the moon moves into Earth's shadow. This particular eclipse was just barely total and it didn't look completely total, with there being a bright area visible the whole time.
Canon T31, 250mm lens (cropped), 2 sec., f/4 ISO 3200
Still, it was a nice show. If you missed it, there's one more total lunar eclipse in this series. It will be on September 27, 2015.